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Walk of Light shines light on domestic violence

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.
Walkers, including the entirety of the Dryden GM Ice Dogs set off from the Dryden Native Friendship Centre for the Walk Of Light, Nov. 1 Photo by Chris Marchand


By Chris Marchand

As they emerged into the street, participants learned how to cradle and protect the bright spark of light in their hands from being snuffed out by the steady breeze.

It takes diligence.

Such an exercise was part of the evening’s symbolic struggle against domestic violence at the Dryden Native Friendship Centre. The evening began with dinner, traditional singers and a sunset march through Dryden’s downtown area, joined by the entire Dryden GM Ice Dogs hockey team.

In a week where the nation was awash in discussions around partner violence and the difficulties facing victims via the Jian Ghomeshi scandal, Northern College social services student Angelica Vanbastelaere says such themes have suddenly been thrust into the mainstream:

“It’s great in my opinion, because I think more women need to speak out and bring these issues to light so that they aren’t stigmatized and so women aren’t afraid or ashamed to come out about it.”

The Northern College students partnered with the Ontario Native Womens’ Association to host the event which explored forms of abuse that ranged beyond the physical to cruelty and threats, psychological, financial spiritual and verbal abuse and the hallmarks of an abusive relationship in addition to the use of force.

The signs of an abuser include: jealousy, controlling behaviour, unrealistic expectations, isolation, blameshifting for problems and verbal abuse.

Victims are often faced with complex feelings of love, fear, doubt, embarrassment, hope for change, isolation, and a lack of resources to change the situation.

An average of seven per cent of Ontario women are victims of violence from a partner.

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