Sadly, Cowichan's stats on abuse are higher than the provincial average. CWAV has been speaking out about -- and supporting women and children who are victims of abuse -- as they deal with the trauma abuse inevitably causes, for over 3 decades.
They have always strategized for local solutions that are founded in community. Actions that can increase safety for women and children.
They offer counseling and crisis support; a transition house (for up to 30 days occupancy) and a pre-‐employment programme as well as community development work that makes the Cowichan Valley safer for all who live here.
However, the needs are greater than the capacity to meet them and the society is looking for ways to address the gaps.
One dream is very much needed. A safe, supportive and affordable housing project that would provide transitional housing (for up to two years) to women and their children as well as office and other community space on the ground floor so women and children can readily access CWAV’s services.
There is no funding for affordable housing from senior government so a capital fundraising project is underway. A project needs a sizable portion of the money upfront, in order to secure a mortgage, so there are going to be events planned in the community to raise those funds.
A Gala is being planned for November 7, 2015 that will include a live auction. Stormin' Norm Jackson will MC and the venerable Bill Keserich is going to be the live auctioneer. The event will include a four course gourmet dinner by chef George Gates of Black Tie fame. There will be a no host bar. We are working on a live band, as well as a DJ, both playing good old fashioned rock and roll. So save the date and more details will follow over the next few weeks. Don't forget to talk to your friends and pass this along. It's going to be an event that you won't want to miss.
Any donation towards the auction would be gratefully accepted. Cash donations are also welcome and can be made online at www.cwav.org under the Building Fund tab. One time or ongoing donations are much appreciated and as a non-‐profit society, donations are tax deductible.
If you would like to volunteer at the gala, helping to make Mellor Hall warm and cosy, serving, prepping food, set up, take down, driving folks safely home, please let me know.
Why am I writing about this on my blog? As a woman with ‘lived experience' of abuse, who has been both a client and volunteer at CWAV and as a locally elected Councillor, this cause pulls at my heartstrings. Many women with lived experience are unable to speak about it. Their perpetrators are still among us, fathers, husbands, boyfriends, uncles...etc. Their children have conflicted feelings about it all. It is a very isolating situation. Lets work together to show these neighbours we care and we want to help them get on their feet again.
Clearly I know that women are sometimes abusive as well and that there are men in our community who have suffered in silence. However CWAV's mandate is to support women. Yet acknowledging that men also suffer from abuse must be said.
I have offered to step up and engage the community to get these desperately needed funds so we can assist women and children to break the cycle of abuse and allow the women who support them to do what they do best -- work directly with women and kids. Taking time from that when there are so many unmet needs seems untenable.
All of us either are someone -- or know someone -- who has been affected by abuse, which takes many forms. Many events will be needed to make this happen and there will be fun events that are affordable to the vast majority of Cowichan residents over the next couple of years until we get this done.
If you have something, a service, some art, whatever, that you would like to donate to the Gala auction, please be in touch. If you want to be part of a list for future events, let me know.
I appreciate your consideration and ask that you pass this on to your contacts. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need more information.
In unity and with hopefulness,