February is Violence Prevention Month

As declared under the Violence Prevention Initiative, February is Violence Prevention Month and so says, Stephenville Mayor Tom O’Brien.

Several community members, adorned in pink, stood in support as Bay St. George Status of Women Co-Chair Sherry Chaulk read out the declaration with Mayor O’Brien making it official with his signature during the Stephenville Town Council meeting yesterday, January 26, 2017. Reading from the Proclamation, he announced, “I am pleased to proclaim the month of February 2017 to be Violence Prevention Month. I encourage all residents of Stephenville to recognize that violence prevention is everyone’s responsibility and support violence prevention activities in our community.”

Each year the Southwestern Coalition to End Violence and their local coordinating committees offer various activities and events in the southwestern region. Local schools avail of Violence Prevention Month grants, receiving kits including t-shirts, videos and recommended material for display and use.  The most popular event being STAND UP day. This year on Feb. 22, 2017 students, faculty, business and government staff will don their pink shirts to show their promise to STAND UP not stand by.

In addition to school activities, a community challenge is issued to all businesses, government offices, organizations and post-secondary training institutions  to Paint the Town Pink in support of this initiative.

There are many ways we as individuals can show our support of Violence Prevention as well. Changing our Facebook profile to pink for the month, wearing pink on Feb. 22, posting a “Pink”ie Promise to Stand Up to bullying on Twitter or Instagram. Teach our children how not to bully by being a positive role model. The
re are endless ways to show our support. And remember, while February may be the month to promote awareness, Violence Prevention is something we each need to make a daily part of our lives.






Tears,Beers and Slot Machines

Tears, Beers & Slot Machines



T’was the weekend before Christmas

In a tavern I was there,

Putting the bucks in a slot machine

And drinking that bloody beer.


I only had one daughter

She was cute and very young,

I never knew the sadness

That into my life would come.


She stood outside the tavern door

She was scarcely six years old,

No socks, just sneakers on her feet

As she shivered in the cold.


The tears streamed down her frozen cheeks

As she called out loud and clear,

”Please Daddy, come home with me,

And don’t drink no more beer.”


“Please Daddy come and stay with me,

You know I love you so

With Mommy home upon the floor,

I have no place to go.”


“Mommy, she’s not feeling well,

And she has gone asleep.

I tried to wake her Daddy

Bu I’m too small and weak.”


Her daddy couldn’t hear her cries

As he played the slot machines.

His eyes glued to the spinning wheels

While his daughter called again.


No answer still and the spinning wheels

Shrouded her sweet young voice.

And his daughter sat down so tired and cold

On a doorstep filled with ice.


“Daddy can you hear me

It’s very cold out here.”

But her daddy played the video game

And drank down one more beer.


A man looked through the tavern door

When he saw the little girl outside.

“Will you tell my daddy that I’m here?

Tell him Mommy died.”


The teardrops down his cheeks did roll,

As the stranger clasped her hand.

And once inside the tavern door

She to her daddy ran.




That night was dark and dreary

And his wife could take no more.

She took an overdose of pills

And died upon the floor.


There’s a lesson to be learned my friends

From slot machines and beer,

And families left alone at home

By husbands you do not care.


I learned my lesson really well

And paid a heavy price.

And lost the person that I loved

Who I took form my wife.

BSGCEV paints Main Street purple

On Friday, November 25th, passers-by and pedestrians were witness to Main Street, particularly the section around Coleman’s parkinunnamed-7g lot, transform into a purple world. unnamed-4
The Purple Ribbon Campaign is a province-wide event that creates public awareness with hopes of positive change in societal attitudes and behaviours regarding male violence against women in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Bay St. George Coalition to End Violence could be seen, with the assistance of the Town of Stephenville, decorating the two light poles in front of Coleman’s in purple. Following, volunteers made their way inside to hand out purple ribbon magnets and lapel pins to all customers and staff.

purrib2016bsgcevEveryone is encouraged to show their support by placing the magnet on thunnamed-6eir car, and wearing a ribbon to help spread the message that violence of any kind is unacceptable.

Following the purple ribbon decorating, many attended the Town of Stephenville office, where Mayor Tom O’Brien signed the proclamation, declaring the Purple Ribbon Campaign and 16 Days of Activism launched.

The Purple Ribbon campaign begins on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, runs through the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women on December 6, and ends on December 10, International Human Rights Day, encompassing the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence.

16 Days of Activism

16-days-of-activism-5Beginning on November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the 16 Days of Activism campaign is launched worldwide. Ending on December 10, Human Rights Day, this campaign is a time to pledge action and awareness to end violence against women and girls around the world. The campaign, originally started in 1991 by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, has grown into an internationally recognized event with many activities happening around the world.images

The Southwestern Coalition to End Violence, recognizes the 16 Days of Activism with the launch of its Purple Ribbon Campaign, an awareness program requesting everyone to do their part in ending violence against women. For more local events, check out our Calendar of Events and Facebook page.

Mock Car Crash: A Teaching Opportunity


imageFor many passers-by the scene was horrific and shocking. Scattered broken glass, bent metal, blood and a victim being loaded onto a stretcher were all indicators that something went terribly wrong.

But, on September 13, 2016, luckily for the 37 year old male, this was the scene of a “Mock Car Crash.”

The second annual event organized by Peaceful Communities, gave first responders and emergency medical personnel real-life training, while witnesses were made aware just how serious distracted/impaired driving can be.

Corey Lomond, co-chair of Peaceful Communities at the time, reported the event a success. “Feedback has proven to us a lot of people are seeing the accident, and a lot of people are thinking this is real,” he said.

According to their Year in Review, the Bay St. George Chapter of MADD, reports that on average four people are killed with another 175 seriously injured due to impaired driving. CAA released that in North America there are 4 million car crashes per year. With 3 out of 4 drivers admitting to driving distracted, according to IBC Insurance.

Distracted driving comes in all forms from tuning the radio, to in-vehicle conversations with others. Today, however, it is most commonly due to texting and talking on cellphones. In fact, studies by Virginia Tech Transportation
Institute, 2010, indicate drivers who text or use cellular phones while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in a car or near car crash.6357709927515511911248818647_texting-driving-imgopt1000x70

For one lucky person in Port aux Basques, this accident on September 13th was just a simulated training exercise. Let’s hope it was an eye-opener for many more.

To read more about this exercise click here, or follow us on Facebook.





SWCEV Highlights 2015-2016!

20161005_153939_hdrThirty-four people attended Southwestern Coalition to End Violence’s Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016. Held at the Days Inn in Stephenville, there was representation from several organizations, including Western Health, Mental Health & Addictions, Community Youth Network, Community Education Network, Canadian Mental Health Association, Dept of Justice & Public Safety, Newfoundland Aboriginal Women’s Network, Lions Club and BSG Status of Women Council, among others. 

Bernice Hancock, Coordinating Agency Liaison for SWCEV, offered a warm welcome to everyone and thanked them for coming. Following a brief history and background regarding SWCEV and it’s commitment, since 2006, to the Violence Prevention Initiative, Bernice invited representatives from each of the Local Coordinating Committees (LCC): Peaceful Communities, H.E.L.P Committee and BSG Coalition to End Violence, to come forward and highlight their year.

Danielle Walters and Corey Lomond spoke of many events and activities the committee in Port aux Basques have undertaken this past year. For the Burgeo area, Kathy Cutler regarded, while a small committee, they have much to be proud of. Kim Kendell, Janice Kennedy and Vanessa Lee highlighted the value of partnerships when facilitating community events and activities. Although each LCC holds their own events locally, the initiatives are shared by all three LCCs.

Among some of those highlighted were facilitation of Take Back the Night events; Purple Ribbon Campaign/Dec. 6 Vigil; World Elder Abuse Awareness Day activities, Violence Prevention Month community and school-based activities; coordination of Stand Up Day; Families and Schools Together school-based programs; and PRIDE events. 

Along with coordinating and hosting events, SWCEV and LCCs spend time educating and offering public awareness with outreach activities regarding: positive mental health; integration and inclusion; sexual violence awareness; suicide prevention; fetal alcohol syndrome disorder, among others.20161005_153922_hdr

In a day and age where technology is the leading factor for promotion and education, participants were guided through a virtual tour of  the Violence Prevention Initiative. Coordinated by the Women’s Policy Office, the website highlights many of its various approaches to a province where everyone will live a violence-free life. Also emphasized was the SWCEV website featuring the three LCC’s events and contact information. 

Susan Fowlow, delivered a motivational keynote, sugared with laughter, as she spoke about the importance of volunteering and mentoring young volunteers to continue that path. As she finished she left everyone with a powerful food for thought question: “If you were arrested and charged with Random Acts of Kindness, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”20161005_161717_hdr 20161005_164350_hdr

As the meeting came to an end, Bernice thanked everyone for participating and five lucky winners walked away with a small reminder of the day.20161005_161259_hdr



Aging is only Mind over Matter-Respect Aging Conference

“Happiness and intimacy has nothing to do with age!” This was one of the many comments made by the 20161005_111759_hdrparticipants who took part in the two-day Respect Aging Conference.

Held at the Day’s Inn in Stephenville, seniors, and those working with seniors registered from the southwestern region to come together for camaraderie, learning and fun; and according to the feedback they weren’t disappointed. “I look forward to more of these,” said another.

The day began on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016 with Bernice Hancock, Executive Director of Community Education Network, the coordinating agency of Southwestern Coalition to End Violence, welcoming the group and thanking them for their interest in Respect Aging.  With a brief background of SWCEV and their commitment to Violence Prevention Initiatives, Bernice set the agenda in place for the next two days. She spoke of the important role seniors play in our communities, and congratulated David Rex, of Stephenville, on his recent provincial acknowledgment as one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Seniors of Distinction.

Greetings were brought on behalf of the federal, provincial and municipal governments. The tone for the event was set when Laura Aylward, participant and Stephenville Town Councillor ended her welcome with Lucille Ball’s secret of aging…“is to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age.”

Laughter and energized chatter abounded when keynote speaker, Gerard Yetman, of AIDS Committee of NL 20161005_144616_hdrintroduced his topic for the afternoon regarding aging and sexual health. With The Best Sex in Years booklet as a resource, he spoke how the “norms around sexual health and aging must change.” That the misconceived concept that “older adults don’t have sex or enjoy it” is wrong.  He went on to say that “sex is a normal part of life for all ages.”

During small group discussions, those in the room shared detailed scenarios that could have been anyone’s story. With plenty of time for exchange and information sharing, each group presented their scenario and their plan of recourse that they would do or offer in each situation. One such discussion was concerning cyber dating and when reported the group highlighted the importance of protecting oneself online. They gave several tips to follow including taking a friend with you for your first face-to-face meet.  While they felt that they are not so tech-savvy, the best advice they felt they could give to anyone of any age, when it comes to online, “If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.”

Also with AIDS Committee of NL, Jessica Hackett presented information regarding SWAP’s mobile needle exchange program, presently offered in Corner Brook, with hopes of it coming to the Stephenville area soon. She spoke briefly regarding drug addiction and harm reduction strategies among seniors. “Many older people are using pain meds regularly to get through each day.”  SWAP allows a non-judgmental environment of safe needle disposal. It gives an opportunity to maintain safety in our communities and our children. Jessica feels “it is a win-win situation.”

Of course, it can’t be all training and information, there were many line dances, jigs and toe-step20161005_200841_hdrping done during the evening dinner and entertainment with Flashpoint.20161005_204404_hdr

Growing older, for most of us is a scary thing and have many negative connotations surrounding it. Knowing and being aware of the many facets of our age is important. During Day Two, training and information was a little more serious, but vitally important. Violence among seniors is all too-often a common occurrence.

Following a relaxing self care activity administered by Sharon Williston, Program Support Assistant with BSG Status of Women Council (BSGSWC), Bernice and Janice Kennedy, Executive Director with BSGSWC co-facilitated a Respect Aging workshop with open discussions regarding the types of violence and how this violence is often inflicted, with the perpetrators, many times, being those who care and love our aging citizens.  Working in small groups on case studies, many felt this brought new light and knowledge to an unpleasant but necessary topic. One participant spoke of how, “What is called violence today, wasn’t always thought of or called that.” With participation and feedback from the larger group focus was brought to the risk factors, but also to how seniors can protect themselves.20161006_104847_hdr

As the conference came to a conclusion, it was evident that the participants enjoyed themselves immensely, thanking the organizers for offering this opportunity and that they hope it becomes a regular event. With a list of contacts, resources and memories for a lifetime, new friends who had entered just two short days earlier as strangers vowed to meet again.


For more pics of the event check out our social-network-facebook-icon page.

Bay St. George Women Take Back the Night

img_0779Women from the community gathered at the steps of Golden G in Stephenville on the evening of Friday, Sept. 16, 2016 in recognition of Sexual Violence Awareness Week. Take Back the Night Walk is an annual event organized by the Bay St. George Status of Women’s Council in partnership with the Bay St. George Coalition to End Violence.

Armed with colorful signage, and led down Main Street by Stephenville Search and Rescue, women of all ages, groups and organizations, walked for independence and to end the fear of walking at night. This walk, held on the third Friday of September, delivers the powerful statement that women should be able to walk the streets without any man needed to protect them.20160916_200119_hdr

With pick up locations along the route at Coleman’s and Kindale Library,  nearly 70 women marched into LA Bown, welcomed and honored by the St. George’s Drumming Circle.

20160916_193904_hdrWhile the walk is for women only, the celebration event following is open to everyone to support strong women in the community. During the welcome, Sherrie Chaulk, co-chair of BSG Status of Women’s Council spoke of the importance of the walk and how to show support during this day and every day towards equality and women. “It is a chance to publicly celebrate women’s solidarity.” She went on to say that the walk is for women only to “symbolically underline that women will not be passive and accept the violence against them but will instead speak out and take action for change. ”

Those in attendance were invited to visit the Faceless Dolls project; a project headed by the Newfoundland 20160916_205514_hdrAboriginal Women’s Network (NAWN) A quilt of 109 beautifully colored dolls, each honoring the life of a woman or child who died at the hands of violence, was displayed in the hall. Cards describing their lives and the manner in which they were cut short sat on a table where memorial candles were lit.

The Clothesline Project, spearheaded by the Western Coalition to End Violence, showcased colored tee-shirts with messages of strength, survival and 20160916_201928_hdrdetermination throughout the building.

With musical entertainment provided by the cultural drumming circle and Kim Nippard, everyone enjoyed an evening of camaraderie and delicious bbq hotdogs and hamburgers.

Congratulations to all organizers, participants and supporters who made this event another success. Here is to breaking the silence and celebrating strong women everywhere.