THE City of Surrey continued to build community awareness around the issue of domestic abuse through its 2014 Rakhi Project, a Crime Reduction Strategy initiative with a “freeze mob” which took place Tuesday at the New City hall. This unique public demonstration served to kick off an eight week awareness campaign designed to raise awareness about domestic abuse.
During the event at Surrey City Hall, freeze mob participants held signs reading “love & respect” or “take a stand” while posed in static postures, creating a buzz of interest on the issue. Video footage from the freeze was captured and will be made into a social media video. It will also be developed into a PSA (public service announcement) by ONMI Television to be released further into the campaign.
“Domestic abuse is an issue that continues to have a devastating effect on families,” said Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts. “The Rakhi Project encourages a visible and unified approach to the issue and is part of a multi-faceted initiative undertaken by the City of Surrey to raise further awareness. Our goal is to create an environment where women feel safe to come forward and to encourage men to be an active part of the solution.”
”For four years, the Rakhi Project’s unique emphasis on shared respect for family values has brought attention to the urgent issue of domestic abuse in our communities,” said Councillor Barinder Rasode, Chair of the Community Safety Committee. “By wearing the purple bracelets on their wrists, brothers and men are vowing to take a stand with their sisters against domestic abuse.”
Rakhi is a special occasion observed in India which honours the relationship between brothers and sisters. It involves the tying of a rakhi (thread / bracelet) by a sister on her brother’s wrist as a symbol of the love and respect between them. Brothers wearing the Rakhi Project purple bracelet show that they stand with their sisters against domestic abuse.
As in past years, the project has partnered with local artist, Karen Lipsett-Kidd, who has created a new bracelet design that reflects the meaning of the project. Karen has helped develop a partnership with an organization in India called the Sambhali Trust, who has handcrafted this year’s bracelets. The Trust was founded in 2007 and aims to support women and girls in the Rajasthan region of India by breaking the cycle of poverty. The women of this Trust who have handcrafted the purple bracelets and pouches are provided with education, skills and financial independence.
The braided purple bracelets will be sold for $5 each with proceeds going to the City of Surrey’s Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (SCADA). The Project is being spearheaded by the City of Surrey in partnership with Surrey RCMP, Omni Television, Ending Violence Association of BC, BC Lions, Fruiticana, Save-on-Foods and the Province Newspaper.
Bracelets will be sold from June 17 to August 10 at select Save-on-Foods locations, Fruiticana, Surrey RCMP, Kwantlen bookstores, KEYS: Housing & Health Solutions, and Surrey Women’s Centre.
An exciting new piece of this year’s campaign includes the incorporation of purple umbrellas that symbolize protection and Surrey’s Coalition Against Domestic Abuse’s work in education and raising awareness of the issue. Stay on the lookout for these purple symbols as you never know where one may pop up!
Both photos by Chandra Bodalia