November is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. That’s why, beginning November 14th, purple-hued Ribbons for Hope will be appearing across the Southeast. Learn more, here.
Tracy Whitby is the Executive Director of Agape House, a safe place for individuals fleeing domestic violence. She says that a lot of people see that Steinbach is a beautiful community and prefer not to think about things that may happen behind closed doors.
But at the shelter, they know. Agape House is at capacity. The numbers speak for themselves.
“Our beds have been full this entire year,” reveals Whitby. “This last fiscal, we saw higher numbers than we’ve had in over eight years. We're on track to see a 30% increase over last year, which was our highest in over eight years. I cannot recall the last time that we haven't been close to full. There’s a ton of need in our area.”
“We've definitely outgrown our space,” agrees outreach worker Lisa Fast.
The Ribbons of Hope campaign isn’t only drawing attention to domestic violence, but it’s also a way to take action and offer hope.
“We're looking for funds to add to our current building,” says Whitby. “We’re hoping to add three more rooms.”
“You’d be surprised at who accesses our services,” confides Whitby. “They might be your neighbour. Or the person you see walking down the street.”
“By wearing a purple Ribbon for Hope, you're standing with those who have left violent relationships,” shares Fast. “But you're also advocating for those who haven't left yet – to remind them that there are people and resources here to support them, at Agape House.”
“Organizations within our community that support us will have Ribbons of Hope donation boxes at their storefront,” explains Whitby. “We're hoping as people wear these ribbons, they’ll either put a donation in the box or scan the QR code to make a donation online to help fund the expansion of our service and addition to our building.”
“In Manitoba right now, intimate partner violence would almost be considered an epidemic,” relates Fast. “By donating even a little and wearing a purple Ribbon for Hope, you're making an impact. You’re helping break the silence.”
“Manitoba has one of the highest rates of domestic violence and intimate partner violence of any province,” reveals Whitby. “But because this is something that happens in private, you may not know who’s going through it. By wearing a purple Ribbon of Hope, you might encourage someone close to you, who really needs to know you’re standing with them. And they’ll be able to reach out and connect
with Agape House. You don't know who's going through it – so even by sharing one of our social media posts, you could make a difference. It's really important.”
“Domestic Violence Awareness Month shines a light on this important issue,” expresses Fast. “It’s also about letting those community members who are experiencing domestic violence right now, know that they’re not alone – that supports are available to help them get out safely.”
“Seeing women succeed, seeing them take steps forward is a huge celebration for us!”
24 Hour Crisis Line (204)-346-0028
Text Line (204)-800-7799