Zonta Club of Chatham-Kent makes strides against violence

Twenty Zonta Club of Chatham-Kent members and citizens marched across the Third Street bridge in Chatham, On., over the noon hour Monday Nov. 25. The group hoped to bring attention to the Say No Violence against Women campaign and mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence towards Women. Diana Martin/Chatham Daily News/QMI Agency

Twenty Zonta Club of Chatham-Kent members and citizens marched across the Third Street bridge in Chatham, On., over the noon hour Monday Nov. 25. The group hoped to bring attention to the Say No Violence against Women campaign and mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence towards Women. Diana Martin/Chatham Daily News/QMI Agency

From the Chatham Daily News

Battling against chilling winds, a group of 20 people spent the lunch-hour Monday marching along the Third Street Bridge to bring awareness to violence against women.

Terry Finley, wrapped head to toe to keep warm, was overwhelmed by the experience.

“I’m a victim of sexual abuse and emotional and psychological abuse as a child. I came out because I want to raise awareness that there are people out there this has happened to,” Finley said. “To let people know you don’t have to be a victim, you can overcome.”

The Zonta Club’s Say No campaign march marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence towards Women and kicked off 16 days of activism which will end Dec. 10 on International Human Rights Day.

“I think we’re inclined to think it happens in other parts of the world, but not in our own neighbourhoods,” said Hilary Henley, past-president of the Zonta Club of Chatham-Kent. “It is as much an issue here as it is throughout the world. In Canada, every six days a woman is killed by her intimate partner – that’s one woman a week.”

Finley said at first she didn’t see the warning signs in her relationship and felt unable to leave as it escalated.

“When I got out of the relationship I started to go to counselling and my eyes started to be opened,” she said. “I’m starting to see it in other areas, not just in peoples’ relationships and childhoods, but in public society there is a lot of manipulation and intimidation making you feel low, your self-esteem is coming down.”

The group chose the bridge because it’s a high-traffic area for cars and pedestrians.

“Part of the Zonta mission is to improve the status of women in our own communities and internationally, and violence against women is a huge issue,” Henley said. “We want people to think about it. Thinking about it might lead to a change in behaviour.”

Making strides against violence | Chatham Daily News.

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