Council members and staff of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women are deeply shaken by the murder of Traci Lynch. All of us offer our sympathies to her family, especially her young son Owen, and to her friends, her neighbours, and the families of the children she cared for. Our hearts and our thoughts are with you.
No life should end in violence. And yet, Traci Lynch may be the tenth Prince Edward Island woman since 1989 to be murdered by a man who knew her. Over that same time, hundreds of women have been harmed or made to fear for their lives. Abuse, injury, trauma, and constant fear have horrific effects on individuals, families, and whole communities.
It is at moments of crisis, such as the days following a murder, that we realize how closely interconnected we all are and how violence affects everyone in a society. Moments like this remind us that we are all responsible for creating a culture where violence is unacceptable in our words, in our actions, and in our relationships.
Each year for 25 years, the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women has coordinated the province-wide Purple Ribbon Campaign against violence against women. The purple ribbon has become an important symbol of the work to end violence and to address male violence against women and children that is rooted in power, control, and gender inequality.
Today, more than one Island woman is hearing the news of Traci Lynch’s murder and living with the knowledge, “That could have been me.” To you, we send love and support and a reminder that there is help available. Women and men who experience abuse or violence can contact Family Violence Prevention Services anywhere in PEI and talk to knowledgeable and compassionate outreach workers. The staff will work with you to find safety and to feel empowered and valued. To speak to someone confidentially for information, support, or emergency shelter, contact PEI Family Violence Prevention Services: 902-892-0960 (local) or 1-800-240-9894 (toll free).
Family, friends, and neighbours who are concerned for the health and safety of someone they know can also ask PEI Family Violence Prevention Services for information and support. All of us need to know the warning signs of family violence and to learn what we can do to help prevent abuse and, possibly, to prevent loss of life. [Find family violence prevention information for everyone at http://stopfamilyviolence.pe.ca/everyone.]
We can honour Traci Lynch and missing and murdered women across Canada by taking action in our everyday lives to address and end violence. If you know someone in a dangerous relationship, talk to her privately, in a safe setting. Let her know you are a safe person to talk to, that you will continue to be supportive, and that you will help her to access family violence prevention supports and services if and when she is ready. You could save a life.
Kelly Robinson, Acting Chairperson
PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women