It will be an evening of celebration and remembrance.
You’re invited to come celebrate International Women’s Day with the SAFE (Shuswap Area Family Emergency) Society on Friday, one of thousands of such celebrations around the world.
The event will feature Salmon Arm’s popular singer/songwriter Aimie Laws. It will be hosted by the society at Java Jive Neighbourhood Bistro (on the corner of Alexander Street and the Trans-Canada Highway), beginning at 6:30 p.m., and is expected to be a fun and casual coffeehouse. Women of all ages and backgrounds are welcome.
The society points out that International Women’s Day began in the late 1800s as a way to bring attention to women’s oppression and inequality, and continues today to celebrate how far women have come – and to serve as a reminder of what still can be done to further women’s equality throughout the world.
Writes the society in a news release: “We honour the heroic women of the past and celebrate modern day heroines. International Women’s Day is also a day to contemplate and discuss change, as women throughout the world continue to be excluded from the political, economic and social process. It is a time to ask important questions about why women are still the target of gender-based violence, why young women are being raised to hate their bodies, why women still make less money than men, and why women do not have equal representation in government.”
The Salmon Arm emergency shelter houses between 100 and 150 women per year.
“We have a 30-day limit but sometimes that does get extended because of the lack of affordable rentals in Salmon Arm,” explains Marilyn Kalke, resident co-ordinator at the transition house.
In the past 20 years, 17 of the women who have come to the SAFE Society have died either directly or indirectly to violence, says Kalke, and there are many women who the society doesn’t know what became of them.
“Our main goal here is to work our way out of a job – to educate enough to make people aware that abuse is not acceptable and to stop the violence.”
Kalke notes that statistics show one in three women experiences violence of some type.
Under the society’s umbrella are a number of services along with the emergency shelter including the Children Who Witness Abuse program, the Stopping the Violence Program – a more in-depth therapy involving historical sexual abuse counselling, an outreach counsellor, and victim services. Services for men are in short supply.