Advocates with Calgary-based Pin-Up-Girl, an organization working to end violence against women, took to Tomkins Park on Sunday to spread awareness about female safety.
The group spent the day handing out red pins, with a symbol on them, that the group created for female-identifying people to wear to show that the person wearing the pin can be trusted in a moment of need.
“We need somebody that we can identify as safe, that we could go to if you’re in trouble, or (if you) need help,” said Stephanie Colangeli, the founder of Pin-Up-Girl.
Pin-Up-Girl was created in 2017 after a personal experience.
“I was walking home one night, walking to my car, and I heard a bunch of loud, drunk voices pretty close by and they were all men. I looked around and worried about my safety,” said Colangeli. “I just looked to see if there were other women or anybody else in the area that if I needed help I could go to.”
Colangeli was inspired by the Block Parent Program, where people place signs on their homes to indicate their residence is safe for community members, especially children.
“It just hit me, (that) this is exactly what women right now need,” said Colangeli.
Sunday’s rally comes just weeks after a 30-year-old Calgary woman was stabbed to death by in a random attack in the Beltline on March 18.
“When we heard about the murder of Vanessa Ladouceur, it was heartbreaking and we were devastated,” said Colangeli. “It was also a wake up call to us like, ‘hey, our job here isn’t done, we’ve got work to do.’”
A local self-defence company was also in attendance Sunday, sharing the importance of having what they call a personal safety plan.
“The importance of having a personal safety plan is so that you are prepared, you’ve thought about it, you’re alert to what the risks might be, and you’re able to react quickly if necessary,” said Lorna Selig, the president of Safe4Life.
Adding, that having a plan can help eliminate the element of surprise, and react accordingly. Selig says “cautious confidence” is key.
“The worst thing that we want to have happen is for us to be in fear all the time,” she said. “Getting the skills and training to solidify your approach and your response to something that you know might be threatening or risky, and being able to deliver it.”
Further details about the organization can be found here.