The Nanaimo RCMP’s first annual Purple Light Nights campaign to raise awareness about the impacts of intimate partner violence begins today (Oct. 1).
Police respond to an average of four calls per day in Nanaimo related to conflict or violence within an intimate partnership, according to a release from the detachment.
“This would not have happened without the hard work of the Christy Wood, the Nanaimo RCMP Community Policing coordinator and Laura Dean with Nanaimo RCMP Victim Services. We are excited to be a part of this international campaign to draw attention to intimate partner violence,” said Const. Sherri Wade, Nanaimo RCMP intimate partner violence investigator.
Sixty-seven per cent of Canadians say they know at least one woman who has been sexually or physically assaulted, according to a 2014 study by the Canadian Women’s Foundation. The rate of domestic violence against Indigenous women is 2.5 times higher than the national average, according to a study cited by the Nanaimo RCMP Community Policing Volunteer Program.
The campaign began in 2006 in Covington, Washington as a fundraiser for the Covington Domestic Violence Task Force. The campaign has spread to 24 US states, three Canadian provinces and 12 communities in B.C.
The colour purple is the symbolic colour of domestic violence and is also used to represent courage, creativity, wisdom, dignity and peace. During the month of October, community businesses, government and non-government agencies and residents will be encouraged to decorate their businesses or residences with purple lights or purple decorations.