Talk about stepping up to help out.
We at RMO feel a valleywide tip of the hat is due to the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB) Charitable Foundation for its $25,000 donation to the Banff YWCA’s women’s shelter program (page 18).
When you consider that shelters in Alberta, including here in the valley, are sometimes forced to turn away women and children who have previously accessed government funding, or that non-Canadians may be ineligible for funding, you quickly realize how ridiculous the situation is.
As if domestic violence levelled against women and children can be categorized, pigeon-holed, rated by level as to need or happens with any regard to nationality or past claims…
Due to the nature of domestic violence, which is often ongoing over long periods of time, often escalates over time and is a more or less hidden disaster as it typically doesn’t happen out in the open, the idea that a woman, or a mother with children, could be turned down in a time of need is a scary one.
Thankfully, CREB’s generous donation will help ensure that happens less often.
Here in the Bow Valley, a tourist destination, a second home destination, an active lifestyle destination, a location generally viewed through through some tint of rose-coloured glasses, domestic violence toward women is not an issue that regularly arises.
But, like most forms of crime, it takes place here. Like it or not, domestic violence doesn’t bypass this valley.
And because domestic violence is present in the valley, it’s critical that the YWCA be supported in its effort to provide safety for women and children who are preyed upon by men.
While the Bow Valley life may be idyllic for many, it is not for all. Ask a Y or Bow Valley Victim Services counsellor.
Valley life is not idyllic when you are a woman or mother, sometimes with little by way of friend and family support, who, for whatever reason (finances, education…), cannot step away from an abusive relationship.
It happens. Some women, especially mothers, simply find themselves in a position where they cannot pick up sticks and walk away.
With the Y’s shelter operating, these women can seek out respite and assistance and receive much needed sanctuary.
Without the Y’s shelter and programs, though, what would a woman or mother do in the case of being at the hands of an abusive partner? Put up with physical, mental or emotional abuse? Keep making trips to the hospital, try to cover up bruises, turn to drink or drugs for emotional numbing?
Worse yet, the problem doesn’t seem to be lessening. Looking back at prior RMO stories about the Y’s shelter, statistics produced show that in 2009-10, the shelter was in use for 49 nights, while in 2010-11, that number soared to 294 nights.
That’s 294 nights when a woman or mother with children felt compelled to seek out the Y’s assistance.
That’s why CREB’s donation, along with fundraisers such as the Y’s own Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event are so important.
It’s simply a matter of a community working to look after those who are sometimes unable to look after themselves, or their children.
And, because it’s hard to say whether provincial funding will ever hit appropriate levels, community efforts are so important.