16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence and the Community Stitch Project.

The Comox Valley Transition Society and Comox Valley Arts invite you to participate in our community stitch project during the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence international campaign.

This project aims to raise awareness and creatively engage all community members to reflect on how gender-based violence impacts their community and ways they can commit to helping end it. The campaign begins with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25 and runs until December 10, World Human Rights Day.

What is gender-based violence?

Gender-based violence exists on a continuum, therefore includes mild, moderate to extreme actions that are committed against someone based on their gender, gender identity, gender expression or perceived gender. We all have a role to play in creating safe homes, schools, workplaces and communities. Now, more than ever, collective action against gender-based violence is needed, as we navigate the evolving COVID-19 crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted gaps in the very systems designed to keep people safe. It has created unprecedented challenges for those experiencing gender-based violence and the organizations that provide supports and services to them.

Be sure to check out the social media campaign on the Comox Valley Transition Society’s Facebook page starting on November 25 for daily posts about gender-based violence and resources.

What is the community stitch project?

Participants will be provided with a stitch kit that includes all the supplies needed to stitch a square (either by using a template provided or using your own design) with the theme of raising awareness of and ending gender-based violence. Stitch kits will be available for free in all municipalities at each Vancouver Island library branch. Participants will have 16 days to stitch a square and submit it to be incorporated into a larger piece or pieces using all the squares which will be permanently displayed in the community in the new year. During those 16 days, there will be opportunities to join a facilitated stitch group in person or virtually, as well as an online platform to share photos of the progress of your square or stitch groups you may have organized yourself with others. Check this website for more details: www.comoxvalleyarts.com/16days

In Canada, we also observe the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women. This day honours the memory of the 14 women who were murdered at L’Ecole Polytechnique Montréal on December 6, 1989 because they were women and were perceived to be feminists. As COVID continues to make it challenging to gather in person on Dec. 6, we invite you to use this opportunity to connect with your community to reflect on this important issue, to be creative regardless of skill level, and contribute to a community art project that will become a permanent legacy of our individual and community commitments to eliminating gender-based violence.

We also invite you to take the opportunity to be supported in the healing/therapeutic benefits of creativity, particularly hand stitching which can offer a quiet pause for us to slow down in an increasingly fast-paced and complicated world. Whether you choose to stitch alone or with others, the meditative/relaxing qualities of hand stitching with different colors of threads and fabric offer an opportunity to be creative without judgment or needing to know what the finished piece “has to” look like. There is no right or wrong – all levels of skill are welcome – what’s most important is that you feel welcome to join the community project, feel connected to the issue and to others who want to express their acknowledgment of it through the participation of this community art project.