Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is lending his support to the Shine the Light campaign to end woman abuse.
Officials with the London Abused Women’s Centre, which spearheads Shine the Light, held a media launch event Friday morning at their York St. headquarters to preview the seventh edition of the campaign. Shine the Light runs throughout the month of November to coincide with Women Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.
At the end of Friday’s event, which saw dozens of people in attendance including several politicians and community leaders, Centre officials played a surprise 70-second-long pre-recorded message from the prime minister.
In the video, which can be viewed in full below, Trudeau said he was honoured to join with the campaign and added that far too many women and girls suffer physical and psychological harm at the hands of others, many of whom are people they love and trust.
“It takes tremendous courage and resilience to break free from abuse,” he says in the video. “I am grateful to the London Abused Women’s Centre and agencies like it across Canada. Violence against women is a terrible and tragic reality, and one that cannot exist in secret. We must shine the light on the abuse of women. We must support women struggling to rebuild their lives. I stand in solidarity with victims, with survivors, and with families and loved ones. Thank you.”
During Friday’s event, a flag-raising ceremony was held in front of LAWC’s building.
“Vito Frijia, who owns the London Lightning, has ordered Shine the Light on Woman Abuse flags for each of his business locations,” said LAWC Executive Director Megan Walker. “There’ll be about 26 flags up around the city. It’s pretty exciting.”
Walker says while the event has grown steadily in the last seven years, Trudeau’s support will help take the campaign national.
“There are a number of special events throughout the month … but as an extension of the prime minister’s support today, we’re also having an event in Ottawa on Nov. 15, which is Wear Purple Day,” Walker said.
“All of our four members of parliament have made this issue non-partisan, which is phenomenal, and are hosting a reception for senators and for members of parliament in Ottawa on Nov. 15. In addition, the Peace Tower will be lit purple on the fifteenth.”
This year’s campaign honours Paula Gallant, who was murdered by her husband in 2005, and Mary Meadows, a survivor who was able to leave her abuser thanks to help from LAWC. Gallant’s sister, Lynn Gallant-Blackburn, spoke on Friday and will attend Shine the Light’s official kick-off event in Victoria Park on Nov. 1.
Last year, more than 25 buildings and locations in London were lit up in purple for the month of November, and more than 20 communities in the province took part in the campaign.
For more information on Shine the Light, click here.