Over a dozen supporters gathered for the annual Take Back the Night walk through downtown Picton last week, part of Alternatives for Women’s protest against a rising tide of violence against women in rural areas.
Holly Baines, AFW’s Training & Public Engagement Coordinator, explained that instances of violence against women in remote and rural areas are higher per capita than in urban centres. The trend is no different in Prince Edward County.
“It is 75 per cent higher in rural areas than in the city, so it’s very important to continue to bring awareness to an issue people tend not to want to talk about,” said Ms. Baines.
Isolation is the primary driver of violence against women in rural and remote parts of North America. Ms. Baines also points to a lack an anonymity. In small towns, identifiers such as vehicles are part of the local knowledge base. Women in desperate and dangerous situations may not feel safe to engage support.
To help expand their profile within the community, Alternatives For Women wants to amplify and promote the services they offer, which include transitional housing and all types of counselling “Counselling is available whether a woman is part of our transitional housing or not. It’s all free and we offer different types,” said Ms. Baines. “We help women find and use the tools that are out there to safely extricate themselves from dangerous situations.”
Over the past year, AFW has helped 100 local women as well as their children.
For more information, please visit www.alternativesforwomen.ca