EDITORIAL: Support of Ethels is admirable

Friday, March 8 is International Women’s Day, and on that afternoon, the Ethels will take centre stage and be extra special as it will mark the 20th fundraising luncheon since it was founded in 1994.

Local support for the Ethel Tibbits Awards has been spectacular.

Whether it’s businesses sponsoring the event, providing free services or products, or purchasing tables, or ordinary citizens buying $50 tickets one at a time, or nominators taking the time to fill out a nomination and seek out reference letters, the Ethels are truly a team effort.

And although local support for Nova House and Chimo remains strong, that’s not the case everywhere in the province.

Some sobering facts about domestic violence were referred to in an article written by Shabna Ali, executive director of the B.C. Society of Transition Houses and Tracy Porteous, executive director of Ending Violence Association of B.C.

In the article, reference is made to a one-day census conducted in November of 2011 at the 124 transition homes in B.C.

On that single day, 1,110 women and children were helped, another 1,461 assisted by phone or e-mail.

But turned away were 658 women, youth and children.

“(Other) anti-violence programs connected to the Ending Violence Association of BC are having the same problem,” they wrote. “There just isn’t enough funding in place to respond.”

Another sobering fact: 100 women were killed by their spouses in B.C. between 2003 and 2011.

So while the Ethels are doing a wonderful job of celebrating the accomplishments of local women, the spotlight is also on Nova House, and the amazing staff who make an everyday difference in the lives of so many.

People who buy tickets to the Ethels need to keep in mind that violence against women happens every day.

And without their support, those desperate women seeking to begin a new chapter in their lives will be turned away too, as will their children.

That’s something we can all do something about, and buying a ticket to the Ethels is a great first step.

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