Posts Tagged memorial service

Bystanders Can Save Lives

PEI Family Violence Prevention Week, February 12 to 18, 2017, is focusing on what bystanders can do to help prevent and end violence. On December 6, 2016, at the Montreal Massacre Memorial Service in Charlottetown, PEI, PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women Chairperson Mari Basiletti told her story of surviving an assault and having her life saved by a bystander’s intervention. Mari’s experience wasn’t family violence, but the bystander did not know this. Taking action as a bystander can save lives. Find out more about PEI’s Family Violence Prevention Week at



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2016 Memorial Service Gallery

The selection of photos below are from the December 6, 2016 Memorial Service for Victims of Violence held at the Confederation Centre of the Arts (venue sponsor). Thanks to everyone who attended the service and participated in the 2016 Purple Ribbon Campaign Against Violence.

We remember 1989
27 Years Since the Montreal Massacre



  • December 6, 2016 – CBCNEWS PEI: ‘We have to keep reminding people:’ Montreal Massacre remembered in Charlottetown … link
  • December 6, 2016 – The Guardian: Charlottetown memorial remembers victims of violence against women … link

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Memorial Services for Victims of Violence

Believe survivors.

The Purple Ribbon Campaign Against Violence (Campagne du ruban violet contre la violence) was initiated by the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women in 1991 to remember the 14 women who were murdered at L’École Polytechnique in Montreal in December 1989, and to raise awareness about violence against women.

December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. We remember fourteen young women who in 1989 were murdered because they were women in what became known as the Montreal Massacre. We remember ten women since 1989 murdered on Prince Edward Island by men who knew them. Join others in your community to light a candle of remembrance, to remember, to reflect, and to act so these murders end.

Charlottetown Memorial Service

12:00 Noon, Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Mi’kmaw welcome: Elder Judy Clark
Guest Speaker: Dima Mreesh
Special performance by KINLEY
Memorial Hall
Confederation Centre of the Arts (venue sponsor)
More info: 902-368-4510,, PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women


Memorial Service Gallery Slideshow … link

  • December 6, 2016 – CBCNEWS PEI: ‘We have to keep reminding people:’ Montreal Massacre remembered in Charlottetown … link
  • December 6, 2016 – The Guardian: Charlottetown memorial remembers victims of violence against women … link


Summerside Memorial Service

12:00 Noon, Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Summerside Presbyterian Church
130 Victoria Road
More info: 902-436-9856, East Prince Women’s Information Centre

First mourn, then work for change
We remember 1989

27 Years since the Montreal Massacre 


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2016-2017 Purple Ribbon Campaign

Believe survivors.

The Purple Ribbon Campaign Against Violence (Campagne du ruban violet contre la violence) was initiated by the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women in 1991 to remember the 14 women who were murdered at L’École Polytechnique in Montreal on December 6, 1989, and to raise awareness about violence against women.

The purple ribbons and bookmarks are ready for distribution to communities, individuals and groups across PEI. This year, the image on our 2016 multilingual poster has been created by our very own Chairperson of the Council, Mari Basiletti, with technical assistance from her partner JoDee Samuelson. Together with the beautiful lettering and fonts of 9 languages, the message to believe those who have been harmed is simple and powerful. The Teachers Guide resources linked to the provincial curriculums for instructors and students will be ready for public use by mid-November. Contact the Status of Women if you’d like posters, purple ribbons, tattoos or any of the Teachers Guides materials: 902-368-4510 or

We appreciate the nine Council members who currently represent Island women on the Advisory Council on the Status of Women. We are very pleased with the breadth of experience and skills brought by the women of our Council. Each one brings her particular perspective to the table, as well as that of her geographic community and her communities of choice. Each one is a strong individual – together they are a force of intellect, compassion and commitment that is remarkable.

We continue to appreciate our mutual, respectful relationship with the Aboriginal Women’s Association of PEI, whose members include all Island Indigenous women. We continue to learn about the realities of living as an Aboriginal woman in PEI, and strive to find meaningful ways to reconcile our shared history as settlers in Canada. We struggle as a nation to believe the survivors of residential schools and their children and grandchildren. The historic trauma of Canadian history has only begun to be addressed and repaired with the announcement of a national inquiry.

We give a shout out to Cheryl Tanton, Health and Physical Education Specialist for the provincial Department of Education. Cheryl has offered encouragement, advice and enthusiasm in collaborating on the Teachers Guide resources. We could not develop such engaging and useful materials for teachers and students without her input. Thank you Cheryl.

We also want to acknowledge the men of ManUp who have taken the initiative to support women working to end gender violence. They are taking responsibility for changing male behavior by actively addressing and discouraging male violence. The engagement and education of men and boys is critical for real change to be achieved. We are proud to work alongside you men.

December 6, 2016 Commentary, Believe Survivors by Chairperson Mari Basiletti
The Guardian, December 6, 2016 – Believe Survivors

Memorial Services for Victims of Violence

12:00 noon, Tuesday, December 6
Mi’kmaw welcome: Elder Judy Clark
Guest Speaker: Dima Mreesh
Special performance by KINLEY
Memorial Hall
Confederation Centre of the Arts (venue sponsor)
More info: 902-368-4510
PEI Adv. Council on the Status of Women

Candles will be lit in commemoration of the 14 women who were murdered in Montreal in 1989 and the 10 Island women who have died at the hands of violent men since that year. Speakers and performers will share their perspectives on the theme of believing survivors. Believing sexual assault victims, believing Indigenous peoples in Canada who suffered cultural genocide, believing those violated and displaced by war around the globe, believing women who endure and minimize the daily experience of gender-based violence. We mourn women’s lives that have ended by violence. We listen, we believe, and we act to end violence against women and girls everywhere.


12:00 noon, Tuesday, December 6
Summerside Presbyterian Church
130 Victoria Road
More info: 902-436-9856
East Prince Women’s Information Centre

  • Join our lunchtime Purple Ribbon Pinning Bee, on Thursday, November 17, at 12:00pm at the Murphy’s Community Centre, 200 Richmond Street in Charlottetown. Meet our current Council women and help pin ribbons to bookmarks for distribution across PEI in November. Everyone Welcome.
  • On Friday, November 25, 2016, the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women will host a screening of Harmony Wagner’s film “Singing to Myself” at The Guild on 111 Queen Street. November 25 marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and is also the launch of the Advisory Council’s Purple Ribbon Campaign, an annual effort to draw attention to gender violence on PEI.


    4:00pm to 6:00pm
    (Note: A Social hosted by PEI ManUp will follow immediately afterwards)Location:
    The Guild, 111 Queen Street, Charlottetown, PEIThe Advisory Council is very pleased to support the work of Harmony Wagner, a talented local director and writer whose work is garnering increased respect and appreciation. Her film grapples with the sexual assault of a young deaf woman who decides to renounce the world, but whose plans are disrupted by the friendship of a precocious musician. Sophie MacLean plays Iris, the young deaf woman yearning to connect; Bryde MacLean plays Celeste, the musician who disrupts Iris’ life in complex and profound ways. It has been described by the Atlantic Film Festival as “an intimate gaze into the complexity and ease of female friendship.” The film contains some swearing and deals with mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. the film is shown, Status of Women Minister Paula Biggar will make remarks. Harmony Wagner will also be on hand to say a few words about her film and about being a filmmaker. Following the film screening, the men of PEI ManUp welcome attendees to walk in solidarity from The Guild to the Murphy Community Centre, 200 Richmond Street, for a social time at The Alley. All are very welcome to attend.
    Tickets for the film are available through The Guild Box office for $13 (including fees). Call 902-620-3333, toll free 1-866-774-0717, or purchase tickets online:
    Vimeo trailer:


Teachers Resource Guide (Bilingual)
A Feature of the 2016 Purple Ribbon Campaign

Resource Guides
Handouts for Students / Documents à distribuer aux étudiants … PDF
Resources for Teachers / Ressources pour les enseignants … PDF

Orientation Sheet, 2013, PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women
“Seeds” by Mari Basiletti. This work was commissioned by
and hangs in the waiting room of the PEI Rape and Sexual Assault Centre, Charlottetown.

Multilingual Poster

Believe survivors.


Artwork: This year, the image on our 2016 multilingual poster has been created by our very own Chairperson of the Council, Mari Basiletti, with technical assistance from her partner JoDee Samuelson. Together with the beautiful lettering and fonts of 9 languages, the message to believe those who have been harmed is simple and powerful.
Translation | Traduction : Service de traduction du gouvernement de l’Î.-P.-É. (French), Thirly Levi (Mi’kmaq), Farahnaz Rezaei (Arabic & Farsi), Alex Yin (Mandarin Chinese), Krishna K. Thakur (Nepali), Steve Hwang (Korean), and Rocio McCallum (Spanish).  Download printable multilingual poster.

Thank you to the 2016 contributors to the Purple Ribbon Campaign for generous assistance. This list will be updated weekly, as contributors are confirmed:

  • Federated Women’s Institutes of PEI
  • Quilting B & More
  • Premier Wade MacLauchlan’s Office
  • City of Charlottetown
  • Confederation Centre of the Arts – Venue Sponsor
  • Premier’s Action Committee on Family Violence Prevention (PAC)
  • Aboriginal Women’s Association
  • Cheryl Tanton, Health/Physical Education Curriculum Specialist
  • PEI Association for Newcomers translators
  • Mari Basiletti, poster artwork
  • Staff at Anderson House, Family Violence Prevention Services (FVPS)
  • Members of the public who attended the Pinning Bee
  • PEI ManUp
  • Karen, Pat, Kate, and Dan for their tremendous help with our Purple Ribbon mailout
  • Excel Accounting Services Inc.- mailout sponsor
  • Megan Kelland, UPEI volunteer
  • Interministerial Women’s Secretariat – Memorial Service flowers
  • David Morrison, pianist
  • Kinley Dowling, performer
  • Dylan Menzie, guitarist
  • Dima Mreesh, guest speaker
  • Judy Clark, Mi’kmaq opening
  • Eliza Starchild Knockwood, honour song
  • Dawn Wilson
  • Amanda Beazley
  • Pam MacKinnon, UPSE Silent Witnesses
  • Advisory Council members
  • and more than two dozen candlelighters who participated in the Memorial Service



Pinning Bee special guest, Lori Anne.


Volunteers helping with the annual Purple Ribbon Campaign mailout. Thanks to Pat, Kate, Karen, and Dan (missing from photo).

Volunteers helping with the annual Purple Ribbon Campaign mailout. Thanks to Pat, Kate, Karen, and Dan (missing from photo).

Click for more on past Purple Ribbon Campaigns.

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Choice and the Cycle of Violence – Speech by Trish Cheverie

“Choice and the Cycle of Violence”
A transcription of comments delivered by
Trish Cheverie, QC, PEI Legal Aid Lawyer
on December 6, 2012, at the
Charlottetown Montreal Massacre Memorial Service

Trish Cheverie has been practising law for 20 years, most of that time with Legal Aid. Her practice is now exclusively criminal defense work, but she has also done family law and child protection work. She worked on the Domestic Violence Court Development Committee commencing in 2004. She was also a member of the Female Offender Re-integration Project Advisory Committee and served for five years on the Premier’s Victim Services Advisory Committee. During the winter of 2006 to 2007, Trish was the Canadian International Fellow with the International Legal Foundation, a New York-based, UN-sanctioned NGO mentoring legal aid lawyers in Afghanistan. She received her Queens Counsel designation in 2006. Trish is currently President of the New London Women’s Institute. In October, she was elected President of the John Howard Society of Canada, having served on the national board since 2004.

As I look around this room I see many distinguished faces. I also see friends and colleagues and people who have worked to address these issues for many, many years – who’ve dedicated their lives, really – so I am truly, truly humbled to be asked to speak to you today. My comments are based certainly on my experience, and, again, as I look around the room, I’m quite awed by the experience that’s in the room.

I think the [Purple Ribbon Campaign] theme that has been chosen this year – “choice,” and that use of violence is a choice – is really a significant theme. It’s significant for lots of reasons, but for me, when I think about it, the real significance is that it’s a message of hope. It’s saying that as human beings we all have the capacity to make positive changes in our lives. That happens when we recognize the circumstances that we are in, and when we realize that our own actions or behaviours are a result of choices that we’ve made.

Trish Cheverie speaks at the December 6, 2012, Charlottetown Montreal Massacre Memorial Service.

Trish Cheverie speaks at the December 6, 2012, Charlottetown Montreal Massacre Memorial Service.

It embodies, really, the values of our whole society. Because if we believe in choice, we believe in individual freedom – that people have power over themselves and their actions and that they are capable of accepting responsibility for themselves and their actions.

It’s that human capacity that I see every day in my work, and the frustration for myself and for many who work in this field is that sometimes we don’t offer the help that’s necessary for many people – the people that are entangled in the cycle of domestic violence – to make the positive choices that they need to make.

We need to believe, to believe in choice as well, that human beings are capable of rational decision-making, that we can decide what is in our own best interests and what is in the interests of those we love. We can decide what we need to be the person we should be.

I think it is also important as we contemplate these ideas that we recognize the factors that limit the capacity to choose and the choices that some people have.

We have to recognize in this real world that there are factors like poverty, lack of work, lack of education, addictions, and mental health issues that really limit an individual’s capacity of people to make positive choices. Just very recently, for example, I was noting that the Canadian Bar Association, a little less than two weeks ago, has called for a national inquiry in to the circumstances of Aboriginal women, because as many of you who are here know, Aboriginal women suffer exponentially the consequences of violence. So when we have an organization like the Canadian Bar Association saying that this is a national scandal that needs to be addressed, then we should be paying attention to the causes of that, as well as the implications and the consequences.

I also wanted to mention briefly my experience in Afghanistan, because what that brought to me was understanding that these issues are not limited to one society or one culture; they are cross-cultural. My expectations were pretty low when I travelled to perhaps what is considered to be one of the most misogynist countries in the world where poverty, where the depths of poverty are there. I expected the shock would be how much more virulent, how much more institutionalized, the violence would be. And the great shock to me was that it wasn’t that much different. Perhaps the difference I would describe as more [institutionalized]. But what I found was that the same issues cause the violence, and the same willing system of good, well-meaning, and kind-hearted and wonderful people working to change the circumstances of people who were engaged in the violence. And many of those young people that I worked with were the age of the victims of the Montreal Massacre, and I was completely, completely blown away by their capacity to dedicate themselves to changing the face of their nation and to ensuring that the values that I just talked about – individual autonomy and the freedom to choose – would be what would be valued in their country’s future. So those things are universal; and those problems are universal.

I also wanted to say that we need to but the notion of choice in the context of our humanity. We need to understand that part of the responsibility of the choice is accepting of the responsibility for those consequences. And sometimes people are going to make bad choices, and their going to fail. But it’s a human process. It takes a long time to create change, and it takes a lot of dedication to the process.

The criminal justice system is a very blunt instrument. People who are in desperate need continue to slip through the cracks. We still deal regularly in the provincial court system with domestic violence cases, we still see some of the same people over and over and over again, we still schedule trials knowing that the victim isn’t likely to attend or that if the victim does attend she will not give evidence. And sometimes it’s because of fear.

Almost always it’s because of fear. But not simply fear of the person who is accused. Fear that the family will be destroyed if the truth is told. Fear that the children may be taken. Fear that they will lose everything that they value, including their home and their other relationships. Fear is the reason that so often these women refuse to engage in the systems we have in place to support them.

They are doing that because they have no other choice. Or they believe that they don’t.

I think it’s also important that, even though we are empowered as an institution to ensure firstly the protection of children, we need to respect and to treat with dignity every victim, regardless of the place where they are in their own lives.

We know how to do better. We know how to do better. We don’t need to be losing these women who have the courage to call the police. We don’t need to be missing altogether the families that are never in contact with authorities for the very same reason. And these are people who continue to slip through the cracks.

The Justice Options for Women project made a series of recommendations. The primary recommendation was for a domestic violence court option in this province. The first committee on this issue came together and made recommendations in 2004. We have continued to engage with government since then with respect to the necessity for a domestic violence court option. And we have had a lot of positive feedback from government. That continues to this day. I know Minister Sherry, [Minister of Environment, Labour and Justice,] recently made some remarks that they are continuing their efforts to try to get the funding to do a pilot.

I’m from the Prince County area, as many of you know. I think we are the perfect place to do the pilot. The reason for that is because we have an incredibly collaborative practice in Prince County. We have people like David O’Brien and John Diamond working for the Prosecutor’s Office. We have Victim Services people like Jean Profit. We have absolutely incredibly dedicated Correctional Services people like Mary MacDonald and Cathy Campbell… and I could just go on and on. But we are a group with a lot of experience in this area who have been working in a highly collaborative way for many years. And we can do that job. We can do a good job and we can make real change.

The piece that’s missing is the therapeutic piece. It’s the treatment piece, and it’s expensive. I wanted to just mention that Nova Scotia has just recently piloted a domestic violence court in Sydney, Cape Breton. Sydney was chosen, again, because there already was in that justice place a highly collaborative practice, and essentially what they have done is hired a manager and put in the therapeutic piece.

What the therapeutic piece offers that we don’t have right now is the immediate intervention, the risk assessment by professionals, who will then recommend the appropriate program. Their programs run from five weeks, to ten weeks, to twenty-five weeks for the most serious cases. And essentially they started that in July, and I understand from what I’ve read about the program that it is going well, and I think the provincial investment was in the range of $800,000 to $1 million to get that going for two years. The hope is that it will then eventually expand all throughout the province.

What happens in the [domestic violence] court is that the intervention is immediate and the perpetrator is given the opportunity while the window is there, while there is remorse, where there is regret, where there is a willingness to do whatever it is going to take to maintain the family. And at that point, you get them into the therapy, and they make the commitment by pleading guilty, by taking responsibility for what they have done, and then committing themselves to the work that has to be done. It also offers similar supports for the family, and I think many of these women who have been shying away from the provincial support system we have now will participate, because what they always say, no matter what they say about what they want to happen, they always say, “I just want the violence to stop.”

We can do a really good job if we had that opportunity, and I know we can.

I think also if we were able to operate that court for a six-month period of time even, we would begin to get the other families that have not contacted the system coming into the system. And in that way, we can make a real difference.

It’s always about the money, and I have the ear of a lot of powerful people in this room, and I know there have been discussions in Cabinet. I’m going to appeal to you on the basis that we’re not just talking about what we can do right now. We’re talking about the future generations.

And that’s when we get into the whole notion of a cycle of violence.

The 2011 PEI Equality Report Card had a focus group that talked a lot about the strong connection between childhood trauma and future offending. Also, addictions, mental health – the things that happen to children who are traumatized as they grow older. They suggested that we first ensure the safety of the children, and then provide services for the parents to deal with the grief, the anger – education around these issues.

We need to do everything we can because of the children.

The costs that are rising in addictions and mental health and incarcerating people – that’s just going to get worse, if we don’t get to the root.

As you all might expect, I have seen and heard some terrible things over my years in the practice of law. What sticks with me and what haunts me are the circumstances of the children. The six-year-old who was hiding behind the shower curtain. The 18-month-old in his mother’s arms as she’s being dragged around the kitchen. The ten-year-old girl in a recent case who called her aunt late at night and said, “Mommy won’t wake up, I think Daddy killed her.”

I don’t want to be seeing that little girl in ten years’ time, sitting in a jail cell, talking about her addictions. I don’t want to be the first person that’s ever talked to her about the trauma of her childhood, about post-traumatic stress disorder, about addictions. I don’t want to have to keep doing that.

I don’t want that little 18-month-old boy to be the 17-year-old that I’m talking to about the girl, his first girlfriend, who is trying to leave him, and he’s relentlessly harassing her.

We can do a lot about these issues. We have to make a commitment as a community.

We also have to make a commitment with respect to our own responsibilities as individual members of the community. When you look around your neighbourhood, we know, in PEI, who the families are that are having problems. You need to be brave enough to stick your nose in. If you can’t do that, then go to the Voluntary Resource Council. Volunteer as a Big Brother or Big Sister. There are a lot of organizations that do tremendous work with children who are in need. And sometimes it doesn’t take very much – I know that from my experience. I’ve had young children that I dealt with as children that they come up to me years later and said, “You know, you’re the only person that ever told me I was smart.” You know, “You thought I was funny.” It can be a kind word… It can be saying to the neighbour, let me take the kids to the movies. Let me give you a break.

Befriend people. Offer what you can. But most importantly, look at those children and recognize the power that you have to change their lives. Sometimes it doesn’t take very much. Be the safe haven that that child can go to when things are bad at home. There’s a lot we can do.

Finally, I just want to say I’m hopeful. I remain hopeful. We’ve done a lot of good work over the years. Each of you has. Change is happening. There’s a lot more work to do, but we can do it.

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