The Candlelight vigil on Nov. 25 marks the 19th year for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

Vigil to eliminate violence on women

Annual vigil observes International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

A candlelight vigil to raise awareness of violence against women is taking place this weekend in Fort Langley.

Sunday, Nov. 25 marks the 19th year for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

The day honours the Mirabal sisters who were brutally assassinated on Nov. 25 in 1960.

The Mirabal sisters were political activists in the Dominican Republic and their deaths resulted from the order of Dominican ruler Rafeal Trujillo.

The Ishtar Transition Housing Society and Soroptimist International of the Langleys have been holding the candlelight vigil in Langley since 2005 to remind communities that women face violence in all areas of the world.

And violence against women also happens in Langley, explained Diane Summers, president of Soroptimist International of the Langleys.

“It’s important to us to spread the word about how people should be treated properly and to bring awareness. Without naming names, we know personally of women in our community who have been affected by this.”

Summers added that identifying domestic abuse is not always ‘obvious.’

“The thing with domestic violence is it’s not always obvious to people. A lot of it happens behind closed doors and we’re not always aware of it.”

This year’s ceremony also incorporates a Red Sand Ceremony, which Summers said symbolizes women who ‘fall through the cracks.’

“The Red Sand Ceremony symbolizes the women who have fallen through the cracks. Those are the very women that Soroptimist International of The Langleys helps through our fundraising and hands on projects. It isn’t until you actually see the red sand in the cracks of the sidewalk that the reality of the situation becomes clear.”

The Red Sand Ceremony was incorporated for the first time at last year’s candlelight vigil. Summers said it was very ‘captivating, emotional, and thought-provoking.’

The candlelight vigil is a free event for all ages.

It takes place rain or shine on Nov. 25 at 5 p.m. at the Bedford Landing Plaza in Fort Langley

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