Benches Commemorate Women Who Lost Their Lives To Acts Of Domestic Violence

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On Thursday, October 14, 2021 the Town of Bracebridge, in partnership with the
Natalie Novak Fund and the Barb’s Benches Project, unveiled one of three purple benches recently installed in the Town of Bracebridge. These benches commemorate three women from the community who lost their lives to acts of domestic violence.

The Barb’s Benches Project originated in Nova Scotia as a tribute to Barbara Baillie. In 2017, the Barb’s Benches Project was created by the children of Barbara Baillie, the local legislative assembly and the Nova Scotia chapter of Silent Witness, to honour their mother and all victims of domestic violence.

“It is devastating every time we hear about another incidence of domestic violence taking place, and in many cases, taking lives”, said Mayor Graydon Smith. “The Barb’s Benches initiative is an important memorial for the victims and a strong reminder of our need to do better as a community and as a society to end the violence.”

The benches can be found at Annie Williams Memorial Park, the Bracebridge Sportsplex and Memorial Park. They commemorate the lives of Wendy Boland, Natalie Novak and Lindsay Wilson, respectively.

Each bench bears a plaque sharing a portion of each woman’s story as well as local resource phone numbers to call for those experiencing abuse.
“It is so important for communities across Canada to remember every woman and child that has been lost through an act of domestic or partner abuse,” said Dawn Novak, mother of Natalie Novak and founder of The Natalie Novak Fund for the Education and Prevention of Domestic Violence. “If everyone recognized that a purple bench symbolized a woman or child who has been killed in an act of domestic violence, we as a nation would be more aware of the seriousness and prevalence of this abuse in our communities”.

The colour purple is a symbol of courage, survival and honour for those who have been affected by domestic
violence.

If you or someone you know has been affected by domestic violence, call Muskoka Victim
Services for support, toll free, at 1-844-762-9945.

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