A women’s program in Nakusp is working to combat domestic violence and sexual abuse by focusing on its exact opposite.
The Stopping The Violence Program is holding a “Women’s Wellness Day” on March 11 to promote healthy living and community connections.
“Our program’s focus is educating on violence. It’s a difficult thing to do,” says Carlee Hughes, the program’s co-ordinator. “So we’ve kind of tried to flip the lens on this, to create more awareness of what is healthy, and empowering men and women in the process.”
The free event will cover many different topics, from relationships, healthy sexuality, massage for healing, finding your soul purpose, journaling, and belly dancing, among others. Each participant will be able to take three of the 75-minute workshops during the course of the day.
The event will kick off with an internationally recognized speaker, Vikki Reynolds, who’ll speak on building healthy communities that are violence-free, and how people working for a better, healthier world can prevent burning out.
She’ll also conduct one of the workshops, on turning burnout into collective care.
“We’re really lucky to have her, we booked her last August to ensure we could have her for this. She’s in great demand, travelling in Australia, Japan and other countries.”
Hughes says the event is helping build a healthier community, one person and one conversation at a time.
“Getting those conversations started is a really powerful impetus for change,” she told Arrow Lakes News. “Taking it in these baby steps, we have conversations with our neighbours and realize we all have a role to play in creating that.”
Hughes organized the first Women’s Wellness Day last summer, which helped introduce the idea of promoting wellness to combat violence.
“By encouraging health, wellness, well-being and peacefulness, we therefore making less space for violence in our community,” she says. “It’s a great way for women to socialize and connect with each other, to make connections so they can draw strength from each other.”
“Just knowing you’re not alone in a domestic abuse situation, that is enough for a woman to realize she can ask for help.”
Hughes acknowledges that men could benefit from such an event as well, and says the recent hiring of a men’s violence outreach worker by Arrow and Slocan Lakes Community Services means that something similar could be organized.
“I would love to see an event like this for men in the future,” she says, but makes no apologies for focusing on supporting women for now.
“Women are kind of the rock of the family,” she says. “I don’t say that to be sexist — of course sometimes the man is. But the mother carries a lot of the weight in many families and sometimes it’s helpful for women to have as many tools as they can to support their families, which can help create a healthier community.”
Women who would like to participate should get a ticket through the Equality For all Facebook Page by March 7. Follow the links to register. The event is limited to 60 people, so book early.