October is Domestic Awareness month, however, women deal with gender-based violence all year round, but there are a few ways they can alter their routine to help protect themselves against unexpected danger.

October is Domestic Awareness month, however, women deal with gender-based violence all year round, but there are a few ways they can alter their routine to help protect themselves against unexpected danger.

Changing your routine can save your life: safety tips for Chilliwack’s women

October’s purple lights to shine a light on domestic abuse, but women still face violence daily

“I’ve had a man follow and film me and my two young daughters while grocery shopping,” said Mikayla Cecylia Gilmour.

One “time I was on a bus and a man sat next to me even though there were empty seats,” said Kate Banham. “He wouldn’t let me off the bus (but) I managed to escape. He got off at my strop and tried to follow me. I ran.”

“At 18, a man grabbed me in the mall while I was on my lunch break. He told me if I went along with him, he wouldn’t hurt me. He tried taking me from the mall (but) I managed to wiggle free and run back to my store,” recalled Laina Rodney.

If you were to ask the women around you about their scariest moments, most will have a similar story, or share something even more terrifying because 67 per cent of Canadians know a woman who’s experienced some form of physical or sexual abuse.

READ MORE: Purple Light Nights in Chilliwack to shine the whole month of October

And although the purple lights and bracelets appearing in town this October are aiming their violet glow on reducing domestic violence, there are a few key things women can do regularly (besides doing things like carrying pepper spray) to protect themselves on a general basis.

When in doubt, “call 911 for any emergency situation where you need the immediate help of fire, ambulance, or police,” said RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Mike Rail. “But prevention goes a long way—a lot further than confrontation does.

“Things can escalate quickly … (and) you don’t know the state of the person you’re (dealing) with, (so) it’s important to choose your battles,” said the veteran officer.

Unfortunately, though, not every situation can be solved by merely avoiding confrontation. In fact, sometimes doing nothing only stokes the fire of fury.

“You have to be aware of where you are and what’s going on around you,” said Darlene Wahlstrom, who works for Chilliwack’s Victim Services.

“There are all sorts of steps we as women can take to ensure our safety,” she continued. “Never walk or run anywhere with your headphones in, hold your keys (like a weapon), and look under your (vehicle) as you approach to make sure nobody’s underneath.

“I even check the passenger side of my vehicle before getting in to make sure nobody’s waiting on the other side,” said Wahlstrom.

And after experiencing two separate incidents of road rage that involved her being threatened, Banham says she now drives with her car doors always locked.

“You can never be too safe,” said Wahlstrom.

READ MORE: Our Community: Darlene Wahlstrom – How Do You Do Your Job?

But “there are (not only) lots of ways to keep yourself safe, (but also) safe ways to stick up for yourself within the rules of the law,” added Rail.

If you’re ever in a situation where you feel your safety may be threatened, “Connect with somebody who can make you feel safe,” he continued.

“And stay there until (all danger’s) been removed from the situation. Staying safe is the bottom line, (and) in most cases (people) will leave you alone.”

If they don’t, Rail advises to contact the police. “Things can be investigated after the fact through (video and witness statements). When you involve the RCMP, (the situation) can be safely de-escalated.”

For more information about Chilliwack’s Victim Services and what they provide, please call 604-393-3020. Should you wish to report a crime anonymously to the police, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).


@SarahGawdin
Sarah.Gawdin@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Harrison Hot Springs kindergarten students held a peaceful protest Monday (Jan. 18) to end separated recess. The protest was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. and his lessons of non-violent action. Check out page XX for the whole story. (Dustin Neufeld/Contributed)
PHOTOS: Harrison students launch peaceful protest against playground division for MLK day

The kindergarten students negotiated with the school principal to enable recess on both playgrounds

Ottawa serial killer Camille Joseph Cleroux died of natural causes at Abbotsford’s Pacific Institution on Sunday.
Serial killer housed at Abbotsford’s Pacific Institution dies of natural causes

Camille Joseph Cleroux announced dead on Sunday, known as notorious Ottawa serial killer

Chilliwack Chiefs
Chilliwack adds prospect Lucas Sorace to future Chiefs D

The Port Moody product suited up for one BCHL game with Chilliwack during the 2019-20 season

Garry Blanchard of Hope won $77,000 correctly guessing the outcomes of all 13 games of NFL week 17. (Photo/BCLC)
Hope resident rakes in $77,000 in NFL Week 17 bet

Garry Blanchard won the record-breaking prize correctly guessing every outcome that week

This urn was found Jan. 4 at a Yale Road bus stop and has now been returned to its owner. (RCMP photo)
RCMP find custodian of urn that was left at Chilliwack bus stop

Police say the urn contained the remains of a family’s cat

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Inspection of bridge crossing on a B.C. forest service road. (B.C. Forest Practices Board)
B.C. falling behind in maintenance of forest service roads

Auditor finds nearly half of bridges overdue for repair

(Black Press Media files)
Woman steals bottles of wine after brandishing stun baton in New Westminster

Police say the female suspect was wearing a beige trench coat with fur lining

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Vancouver Island paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Most Read