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Vigil remembers women

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The work is not yet done.

That was the motif of a candlelight vigil to honour victims of domestic violence on the 23rd anniversary of the Montreal Massacre Thursday night.

About 75 members of the community came out to the Brockville Rowing Club to commemorate the anniversary of the day that 14 women were killed at École Polytechnique on December 6, 1989.

The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women featured interpretive dancers from the Bread of Life Dance Theatre, local singer Aislinn McAllister-Barlow and country singer Pamela Anne Moffatt.

Organizers said that the event was held not only to remember those victims of violence against women, but to honour all female victims of violence.

“Violence against women will not end if we pretend that it's not happening all around us and if we don't talk about it,” said women's advocate Julie Shaw.

“It's so prevalent, even in Canada, Ontario and, yes, in Leeds-Grenville.”

While women have made considerable progress in society, they are still often victimized, she said.

“Women are victimized by sexual assault, domestic violence, portrayed as sex objects and treated like slaves, scapegoats and inferior beings and it's not okay,” Shaw said.

The key to bringing attention to violence against women is education, said Leeds and Grenville Interval House community liaison Kimberley Wright.

Wright said that children who come from abusive homes are 75 per cent more likely to end up in abusive relationships themselves.

“We need to continue to provide these kids with resources to help break the cycle,” Wright said.

“We have to continue to help kids learn very young about gender roles and respectful ways to interact.”

Both women said that access to community services is essential to help women who may find themselves in a domestic violence situation.

Shaw praised a number of initiatives that have happened in Leeds-Grenville since the last December 6 event, including the second edition of the Domestic Violence Protocol for Leeds and Grenville, which was signed by 13 community partners.

However, while achievements have been made in violence against women, some women in violent situations still don't seek help, Shaw said.

“I believe that behind it all is fear: fear of physical harm or death, fear of poverty, fear of change, fear of loneliness, fear of not being good enough, fear of rejection,” Shaw said.

“But, despite all these fears, women do find the opportunity to reach out and tell someone.”

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