A revolution in the rain, One Billion Rising in Delta

A revolution in the rain, One Billion Rising in Delta

 

Sarah Orlina

sarahisha@live.com

 

DELTA — Jackets, turtlenecks and campaign sweatbands created a sea of red in Delta last week as people gathered to raise awareness of violence against women on Feb. 19.

A large crowd avoided the downpour huddled underneath rain-soaked tarps at Delta’s Firehall Centre of Arts, coming together to hear the stories of various guests for the One Billion Rising Revolution rally.

According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16. Those at the rally spoke in solidarity, saying one in three women across the globe will experience violence in their lifetime – that is one billion women.

Dr. Balbir Gurm, head facilitator of the Network to End Violence in Relationships, was pleased to see a large crowd turn out for the event.

“(NEVR is) trying to participate in any way we can, and One Billion Rising is one of those ways where we’re saying, get up, stand up, and let’s do something. Hopefully we’ll convince everybody around the globe. It’s going to take a generation to change.”

Although the event is focused on women, Gurm said violence against men also needs to be addressed in today’s society.

Delta Police Chief Jim Cessford stood proudly as a NEVR member alongside his staff in showing that the issue needs to be addressed locally.

“Our police force takes this very seriously. We are doing whatever we can do as a police force to eliminate violence against women,” Cessford said. “We have a domestic violence (department) that’s committed to dealing with our vulnerable sector, and they’re taking these investigations on to try and stop violence against women.”

Cessford noted that females tend to dominate the crowd at One Billion Rising rallies. Through Delta’s partnership with NEVR, he’s witnessed a lack in male representation in support of the issue. “There’s not many males involved with this type of thing. I spoke with a group of 32 males who had court ordered counselling from abusing women, and I had a long talk with them and said it was cowardly. You need to work with women, and to keep them safe.

“We can’t have anymore women killed,” Cessford continued. “We need to contribute an effort to reduce it. We have domestic violence cases here, as there are many all over the world. One [case] is already too many.”

Gurm stressed the importance of education and awareness in tackling the issue. Many students dressed in red were encouraged to join NEVR.

“We’re trying to find multiple methods to talk to people, whether it’s through the media, through a talk show, in a classroom or in a workshop or a conference – wherever. We’re trying to educate the community in any way we can.”

There will be an interactive session at KPU Surrey on April 1 looking at how to deal with violent situations.

The event will include a panel, featuring Cessford, and a Q&A session. BC Lion Jamie Taras will also speak.

Kiran Bassi, in corporate planning and communications for Delta police, said it’s time for the culture to change.

“Last year, there were less people. This year, the number has doubled. We’re hoping that next year that the message comes out even more, and that there will be more of these One Billion rallies. It’s red all over the world,” Bassi said.