Alberta’s Call to Action: The Week Without Violence Begins 

Shockingly, Alberta ranks as the province with the third-highest rate of family violence in the country. As we embark on the Week Without Violence, we implore our fellow Albertans to discover how they can assist YWCAs across Alberta in aiding friends and loved ones who may have encountered or witnessed violence, all with the aim of fostering a community free from violence.

The Week Without Violence is a crucial part of a global movement that unites YWCAs across Canada and around the world to combat violence against women and girls. It’s imperative to recognize that not all forms of violence receive equal attention or response. For over two decades, YWCAs throughout Canada have dedicated one week in October to raise awareness and amplify the voices of survivors. The Week Without Violence is slated to occur from October 16th to 20th. The four YWCAs in Alberta have united to cast a spotlight on violence in our communities and to share strategies for keeping ourselves and others safe in our neighborhoods.

All of us can play a part in working towards a world free from violence. Violence manifests in various forms and can occur in different settings, including homes, schools, relationships, and communities. By educating ourselves about recognizing the signs of violence, understanding how to support friends and loved ones who may be victims of violence, and knowing when to intervene, we can collectively advocate for and work towards a community devoid of violence.

Learn to recognize violence in the lives of your friends and loved ones. While violence can manifest in numerous ways, such as physical, emotional, psychological, financial, and sexual abuse, there may not always be obvious indicators. However, being vigilant about our assumptions regarding people and their relationships and trusting our instincts when something seems amiss can make a substantial difference. Simply checking in can be impactful when we observe our loved ones behaving differently.

Learn and practice Bystander Intervention Skills. When we witness inappropriate behavior in public, we all have a role to play in intervening to ensure our safety and that of others. Creating a distraction, addressing the behavior directly, seeking assistance from an authority figure, checking in with the affected individual, and documenting the incident can all contribute to preventing violence as it unfolds and providing immediate support.

Listen and empathize. Chances are, you already know someone affected by violence. You can create a safe space for them by offering support with a simple question like, “Are you okay?” and making yourself available to listen to their experiences without passing judgment.

For more resources related to Week Without Violence 2023, visit our website at Alberta YWCA’s and follow us on our social channels @ywcalgary, @ywca_edmonton, @ywcalethbridge, and @ywcabanff during the week of October 16-20, 2023.