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REPORTING · 6th December 2012
Walter McFarlane
Cheryl Rumley came before Council on Monday, November 19th to address Council about the 16 Days against Gender Based Violence on behalf of the Tamitik Status of Women. She told Council the Tamitik Status of Women, a non-profit organization which has been operating in Kitimat for 35 years. They have five different programs to support women and children in Kitimat.

“It encompasses 16 days observing various components of helping the people raise awareness in regards to human based issues,” said Rumley.

The campaign began on November 25th which is the International Day to End Violence Against Women. In addition, November 25th to November 6th is the White Ribbon Campaign, which is the men’s campaign to end violence against women.

Rumley explained this came about because of the December 6th Massacre in Montreal at l'École Polytechnique.

In Kitimat, the Tamitik Status of Women observes December 6th in partnership with the women’s committee at Rio Tinto Alcan. The White Ribbon represents a pledge not to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.

For the last couple of years, the Women’s Committee at Rio Tinto Alcan give out white ribbons at the gates of Rio Tinto Alcan and Tamitik Status of Women gives out ribbons around the community, including the High School where they give antiviolence presentations to the Grade 10s.

Rumley also addressed Council about the Tamitik Status of Women’s Sexual Assault Response Team. The team came about because of campaign in BC where sexual assault was a low reported crime in the criminal code and it was decreasing.

There was a lot of interest in talking about the issue. Two initiatives were formed. The first was to develop a protocol and raise awareness. Rumley told Council have support from both the RCMP and Northern Health for this program. The document which was formed was not one which would sit on a shelf, it would enhance and assist the work others were already doing.

The second initiative is one of education. They were able to receive money from the ministry of justice for this. She told Council after a survey, 60% of BC knew one woman who was physically or sexually assaulted.

“By in large, it is certainly a crime which impacts all of us in community. Not just women, but men, in terms of our mothers, our daughters, our aunts,” said Rumley.

Finally, Rumley addressed the Kitimat Making a Difference for Children Campaign. A program dedicated to the awareness and prevention of the physical and sexual abuse of children. It is a one year project. The coordinator, Danielle Gentile, is meeting with victim services, child protection services and public health. She will also be working with parents and youth in the community.

Councillor Rob Goffinet asked if they were going to hold a candlelight vigil. Rumley told him they have not done this for several years, but they do a year round education campaign.