There was lots of laughs and learning up and down the valley last month when many dozens of local women took part in a series of workshops funded for our community by Justice Canada. Mothers and their teen daughters (as young as 11) came out to empower themselves and each other by building awareness and skills to increase safety in their lives.
The week kicked off with a self–care event at the CE Centre. A full house of women and girls worked on self-awareness and self-regulation skills while crafting and creating, fuelled by delicious food ala Nola Mack. Ideas and resources were shared as the crowd filled up their “tool boxes” with awareness and skills.
Next followed three opportunities to receive self-defence training. There was kicking and punching and yelling all week, but at the end there was no tears or bruises or fear. There was smiles and strong posture, many thanks for bringing in Jennifer Kirkey of Wenlido (self-defence training for women by women).
Jennifer taught us that under Canadian law everyone has the right to use reasonable force to defend themselves. Jennifer also taught us some bone crushing moves even a smaller person can use to defend themselves against an attack. She taught us not to be afraid to use these skills to protect ourselves. Most of all we learned to follow our gut instincts, be aware of what is happening, be ready to use our what we know and be confident enough to say STOP! NO!
All those who participated in the trainings are now more prepared for college/university, working night-shifts, travelling anywhere, new relationships and many other scenarios in which women commonly are made to feel vulnerable.
The week ended with the community’s annual Legacy of Hope Walk and gathering, hosted Snxlhh Transition House. A great turn out was seen at this yearly event that promotes awareness of the importance of preventing violence against women and children.
It was a valuable week of empowerment for women and girls in our Valley. The great turn out of participants signals a turning of the tide against violence against women and children in the Bella Coola Valley.