(COURTESY ECHO HAMELIN)
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For the second year in a row, Kahnawake Survival School (KSS) has partnered with the Centre d’aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel (CALACS) Chateauguay to raise awareness and bring an end to domestic violence and all other violence against women.
CALACS is an independent and non-profit organization which was founded in 1979, by women, for women, with the goal of eradicating all forms of sexual and domestic violence.
Echo Hamelin, the transition counsellor at KSS said that this year the school implemented three virtual initiatives to bring awareness to violence against women.
Their first act was creating a filter that people could apply to their photos on Facebook.
“It’s so beautiful, actually. We included a ribbon. We are trying to implement a red dress to symbolize our collaboration with one another and also to bring awareness to Missing and Murder Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG),” said Hamelin.
The collaboration is part of the annual 12 Days of Action to end violence against women campaign that started on Wednesday (November 25) and ends on December 6.
Every year on December 6, Quebec commemorates the 1989 murder of 14 young women at the École Polytechnique.
Hamelin said that after some brainstorming, the information technology technician at CALACS created the filter.
The campaign was started in 2009 by Secrétariat à la condition féminine, the Canadian Women’s Foundation and the Fédération des femmes du Québec (FFQ).
And it is organized by the 12 Days committee, an innovative coalition in Quebec that brings together nearly 20 organizations to eliminate systemic and institutional violence against women.
“We also made a banner for our Google Classroom so that is how we will engage the students,” said Hamelin.
The counsellor added that information and resources on violence against women was also on the school’s Facebook page and was sent by email to all the students and parents at KSS.
Further, the school also made a playlist of songs that deal with domestic violence and they will be played over the 12 days on K1037.
“We included songs like Rihanna’s “Love the Way You Lie,” and songs from the Dixie Chicks and Kesha, among others that bring awareness to this issue and have a positive message.” said Hamelin.
“High school students are still learning about the world and are still forming their morals and values, so if we raise awareness now, we are hoping to shape and reinforce those values and morals,” said Hamelin.
High school is also where many teens start forming relationships so it is important that they can recognize the signs of an abusive relationship early on and get support if needed.
“The more awareness we raise the more knowledgeable we have and are less likely to engage in those types of relationships,” she said.
KSS has a social counsellor on staff that is there to offer help and support to students that may need it.
Kahnawake Shakotiia’takehnhas Community Services (KSCS) also has resources to help people dealing with domestic violence.
“If the person doesn’t feel comfortable approaching resources in the community, they can go outside to places like CALACS,” said Hamelin.
Since the pandemic started, domestic violence has been on the rise, so campaigns like the 12 Days of Action are more crucial than ever to help fight this persistent social problem.