“We can actually do something about this, we can raise some awareness … this is actually something we can totally stop, as a community working together.”
Battlefords Interval House and FF2 are working together to organize a “Walk a Mile in a Woman’s Shoes” event May 27, which is meant as an awareness walk to stop violence against women.
Tammy Ramsay, a manager at FF2, was motivated to organize the day of events when her sister-in-law lost her niece to domestic violence last November. When she began researching domestic violence, she was shocked at its frequency and the degree to which it was under-reported in the media. She learned that women’s shelters in Saskatchewan take in approximately 4,000 women each year, and 581 women were killed by their spouses between 2000 and 2009.
She decided to organize an event for awareness and fundraising for the Battlefords Interval House, because of its importance in fighting domestic violence. A safe shelter for women, the Interval House has been open since 1980. It offers safety, protection, transportation and referral services depending on what clients are experiencing. Counselling services are offered every day, and the shelter has a “crisis line” that can be called 24 hours a day. The facility also conducts follow-ups with clients after they leave the facility
Interval House takes in an average of 95 to 115 families every year, including 100 to 230 children. Last year, 87 women and a total of 203 children were turned away because the facility was full. Their crisis line received a total of 431 calls totalling 162 hours.
Interval House receives its funding from the Ministry of Justice, but it does not always receive enough for its numerous services. Furniture, for example, and transportation costs are not covered by provincial funding. For this reason, it has relied on donations to cover the remaining costs of operation. All of the funds collected by the fundraiser will go towards clients in some way.
Ramsay explained that she was “astounded” at the support that she received for the event. The RCMP, for example, attained permission to come to the event in ceremonial serge, and Mayor Ian Hamilton has offered to speak at the event.
“We want to make a better life for the girls that are working here, for our female customers, it doesn’t just affect women. If there’s a battered wife, children see it. It’s a cycle that continues.” Ramsay explained.
“We know everybody’s schedules are really busy and we just hope that everybody takes a bit of time to grab a burger, come for a walk, and show their support.”