WIN House campaign to raise domestic violence awareness

A social media campaign on domestic violence is being launched by one of Canada’s oldest and largest emergency shelters in light of the Nova Scotia mass shooting.

WIN House, Edmonton’s oldest shelter for women and children, begins the campaign Wednesday.

“Domestic abuse and intimate partner violence are responsible for the deaths of one woman every six days in Canada,” said WIN House executive director Tess Gordey in a news release.

“The unfathomable tragedy that occurred in Nova Scotia a week ago is a grisly reminder that, left unchecked or unnoticed, women and children living in fear of domestic abuse are at a higher risk now more than ever before.”

According to WIN House, the number and severity of domestic violence cases increases in times of crisis such as national disasters. During the COVID-19 pandemic, other factors related to stress can surface such as isolation, loss of income, anger and frustration.

“However, it would be a mistake to suggest that stress alone causes outcomes like the Nova Scotia massacre or any forms of violence related to abuse,” Gordey said.

“For victims trapped in abusive homes while in a state of crisis, the reality is that their chances of being abused just increases.”

Through the use of hashtags, the campaign, called the WIN House Hashtag Challenge, aims to shine a light on domestic violence (#shinealightondv), reach those who are in isolation (#whenhomesnotsafe) and recognize those who support the shelter (#whyigivetowin).

WIN House is asking for the public to take part by taking a picture of themselves holding one of the above hashtags, posting the photo to their social media platforms, tagging WIN House at @winhouseshelter, challenging three others to do the same and writing a quick message in the post of what that hashtag means for them.

“We want to break the silence that fuels the violence and reach those in isolation fearing for their life right now,” said Gordey.

Anyone feeling unsafe with their current or former partner is encouraged to reach out to the WIN House helpline at 780-479-0058.

Anyone in immediate danger should call 911.