Posts Tagged purple ribbon

Thank You Card – December 6, 2018

Sincere and heartfelt appreciation to everyone who attended the 29th Montreal Massacre Memorial Service on December 6, 2018. The service was a beautiful and moving reminder of suffering, injustice and the resilience of women. We will not forget the 14 women who died in Montreal and the 10 women who died on PEI since 1989. We will not forget any woman who suffers violence. And we will ACT to end gender-based violence.

Time to step up. Be ready to prevent violence against women.




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Ending Violence Against Women: There Is Help

Dear Editor:

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.

December 2014

Flowers and candles at the Charlottetown 2014 Montreal Massacre Memorial Service to remember victims of violence.

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]

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

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2014-2015 Purple Ribbon Campaign

Demand a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.

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, 1purple ribbon campaign bookmarks989, and to raise awareness about violence against women.

We are very grateful to the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) for allowing us to share their Sisters in Spirit logo “Grandmother Moon” on this year’s Purple Ribbon Campaign bookmarks. As well, we are grateful to Walking With Our Sisters (WWOS) for the beautiful moccasin vamp image that is on this year’s multilingual poster. The 2014-15 resources will be ready for full distribution November 1. New resources will be updated on this website throughout November and December.

We also appreciate working with the Aboriginal Women’s Association of PEI (AWA) on the theme of missing and murdered Indigenous women. They have assisted Council and staff to better understand the realities of Aboriginal women, and have helped to make meaningful connections with Indigenous organizations and communities on PEI. Wela’lin.

  • The Memorial Service this year in Charlottetown will be on Friday, December 5, 2014 at 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm, at Memorial Hall, Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown.
  • For the Summerside and O’Leary services, click here.
  • Lunch and LearnHow to be an Ally, November 25, 2014
  • Purple Pinning Party – Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 6:30 pm-8:00 pm, Beanz Espresso Cafe, 38 University Avenue, Charlottetown. It was a great success. Check out some photos on Facebook!

For more information, please email or call the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women at 902-368-4510.

  • December 6, 2014 Commentary – Honouring Our Indigenous Sisters / En l’honneur de nos sœurs autochtones … Link: English and French
  • Guardian Article: Service Offers Moving Details of Slain PEI Womenlink
  • Summerside Journal Pioneer article: In memory of… / link

Video – 2014 Purple Ribbon Call for An Inquiry
Video was taped during the Pinning Bee on November 4, 2014

2014-11-25 10_04_57-2014 Purple Ribbon Call for an Inquiry on VimeoVolunteers from the PEI Purple Ribbon Campaign Against Violence talk about the need for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. Hear from Campaign coordinator Michelle Jay, Advisory Council on the Status of Women Chairperson Diane Kays, volunteers from Canada World Youth, volunteers from the community, and Aboriginal Women’s Association President Judy Clark. The Sisters in Sprit logo on Purple Ribbon bookmarks is used with permission of the Native Women’s Association of Canada.
Join the call for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.


A Feature of the 2014 Purple Ribbon Campaign

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

    • Interactive Activities / Activités interactives … PDF
    • 20 Ways You Can Help End Violence / Vingt façons d’aider à mettre fin à la violence … PDF
    • Poem and Painting / Poème et peinture … PDF



Thank you to 2014 contributors to the Purple Ribbon Campaign for generous assistance  (this list will be updated intermittently):

  • Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC)
  • Premier Robert Ghiz’s Office
  • City of Charlottetown
  • Confederation Centre of the Arts
  • Premier’s Action Committee on Family Violence Prevention (PAC)
  • Federated Women’s Institutes of PEI
  • Quilting B & More
  • PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada and their language interpreters
  • Teyumbar and Sean, and all of the Charlottetown Canada World Youth volunteers
  • Judy Clark and Julie Pellissier-Lush, PEI Aboriginal Women’s Association
  • Sarah Stewart-Jackson, Guest Speaker, Memorial Service
  • Eliza Starchild Knockwood, Singer, Memorial Service
  • Karine Gallant, Reader, Memorial Service
  • Elder Kathy Knockwood Archer
  • Cheryl Tanton, Education and Early Childhood Development
  • Jessie Housty
  • Chris Ledwell
  • Dr. Lynn Gehl
  • Christi Belcourt, Walking With Our Sisters
  • Staff of Anderson House, Family Violence Prevention Services (FVSP)
  • Purple Ribbon Pinning Night volunteers
  • Lori Kays, Beanz Espresso Bar and Cafe
  • Karen, Pat, Dan, Sean and Teyumbar for their tremendous help with our Purple Ribbon mailout
  • Justice Options for Women Project
  • Council members – PEI Status of Women

Click for more on past Purple Ribbon Campaigns.

A huge thank you to the volunteers helping with the annual Purple Ribbon Campaign mailout: (L-R): Karen, Sean, Teyumbar, and Pat. Missing from photo: Daniel.

A huge thank you to the volunteers that helped with the annual Purple Ribbon Campaign mailout: (L-R): Karen, Sean, Teyumbar, and Pat. Missing from photo: Daniel.

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Presentation on Family Violence Prevention

Prince Edward Island Advisory Council on the Status of Women
Presentation on Family Violence Prevention
to the Standing Committee on Health, Social Services and Seniors

Presented by Jane Ledwell, Executive Director
and Michelle Jay, Program Coordinator
March 12, 2014

Excerpt from presentation, page 1:

Every year for over twenty years, Island women organize and host a Montreal Massacre Memorial Service on December 6th. We honour the memory of murdered women with roses and candles and Silent Witnesses. We remember the 14 victims of the Montreal Massacre of 1989, but also the 9 Prince Edward Island women who have been murdered since 1989 at the hands of men who knew them.

Some of these women’s deaths fell into the category of “family violence,” committed by dating partners, common-law or marital partners, or exes. But some of these deaths were not “family violence.” Some were murdered by acquaintances or neighbours. The women murdered in the Montreal Massacre were murdered by a stranger, but they were selected, singled out, and murdered because they were women.

This is part of the reason that the Advisory Council on the Status of Women talks about “violence against women and children” as well as “family violence.” As a province, we need to work on both. Both violence against women and family violence are about power and control. And, we argue strongly, the root causes of both are found in gender inequality which distributes power and control unequally in families and in society.

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Purple Ribbon Tattoos Popular with Island Youth

Charlottetown – The PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women is very pleased with the response from youth and community organizations to their purple ribbon tattoos. During the recent PEI Family Violence Prevention Week (February 10 – 16), more than 3,000 temporary tattoos were scooped up by youth across PEI taking part in Family Violence Prevention events and activities.

Purple Ribbon Tattoo Photo

Students from S.A.V.E. (Students Against Violence Everywhere) at Souris Regional High School display purple ribbon tattoos to show support for ending violence in PEI communities.

With its Purple Ribbon Campaign Against Violence, the Advisory Council on the Status of Women leads efforts to commemorate the lives of the fourteen women murdered in Montreal in 1989 and other victims of violence against women. In December 2012, more than15,000 purple ribbons and bookmarks were distributed across PEI.

“The purple ribbons were widely distributed and worn this year.” says Michelle Jay, Program Coordinator with the Advisory Council. “We actually had the happy problem of not having many ribbons available for Family Violence Prevention Week. Fortunately, one of our Council members, Kelly Robinson, suggested ordering temporary tattoos of purple ribbons.”

The tattoos proved very popular, especially with youth from various parts of the province. “Through PEI Family Violence Prevention Services and the provincial Family Violence Prevention Coordinator, we gave a large number of tattoos to the S.A.V.E. (Students Against Violence Everywhere) students in Eastern PEI and schools in the Western end, as well. Other groups included newcomer girls, the Mi’kmaq Family PRIDE program, and Summerside Boys & Girls Club. The tattoos have been very well received,” says Jay.

“The tattoos were a pilot project this year, but we will definitely consider ordering and distributing them again.”

Council Chairperson Diane Kays also voices her enthusiasm, “We made a specific effort to reach Island youth this year, and put a lot of energy into creating quality, relevant information for our Purple Ribbon Teacher’s Guides. The support from the PEI Department of Education and from specific teachers has been very positive. Distributing purple ribbon tattoos was an additional effort to appeal to youth, and it was quite successful.”

In addition to distributing ribbons and resources, the Purple Ribbon Campaign Against Violence includes a Memorial Service, hosted December 6, to mourn and to work to end violence against women. The Purple Ribbon Campaign this year received support from the Premier’s Action Committee on Family Violence Prevention, Premier Robert Ghiz’s office, the City of Charlottetown Mayor’s Purple Ribbon Task Force, and many volunteers, especially Quilting B & More staff and provincial Women`s Institute members.

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“Healthy Relationships” at Belfast Consolidated School

Kyle MacMaster, Michelle Buttery (Family Violence Prevention Services), Rosemary Henbest, Cassidy Morrison, and Michelle Jay (Advisory Council on the Status of Women).

Erin Vaive’s grade nine students at Belfast Consolidated School recently learned about healthy relationships and violence prevention.  Michelle Buttery and Michelle Jay shared information about the Purple Ribbon Campaign and positive relationships for youth to the interested students.

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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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