Fundraiser aims to help women escape abuse

“My hope is that Cowichan will just say to these women and kids: ‘We’ve got your back!’”

“My hope is that Cowichan will just say to these women and kids: ‘We’ve got your back!’”

Fundraiser Kate Marsh is putting her back into promoting an extra-special gala for Cowichan Women Against Violence on Saturday, Nov. 7.

It’s all about raising money to help  procure a mortgage on a facility that would provide safe housing for women and children leaving abusive situations.

Starting at 6 p.m., at the Cowichan Exhibition’s Mellor Hall, the gala offers the chance to enjoy great food with great people and then try to outbid them on some super auction items.

The event starts with cocktails at 6 p.m. followed by a four-course gourmet dinner cooked under the auspices of imaginative Valley chef George Gates at 7 p.m.

There will be a silent auction, a live auction at 8 p.m. and a 50/50 draw, followed by music for dancing provided by the band Rainwood Steel starting at 9 and continuing until 1 a.m.

Tickets are $125 each and are available at, Chemainus Village Computer Centre, Galletto Market & Deli in Crofton and at the CWAV office at 103-155 Ingram St. in Duncan.

Marsh spoke about the gala this week and urged everyone to buy their tickets now.

“It’s going to be incredible if we can go ahead. But, it’s Mellor Hall so we have to sell 200 tickets or it’s not going to be worth it. And $50 from each ticket will be tax deductible.”

The project itself is vital, she said.

The ultimate goal is to have a 40-unit housing project for women and kids. The hope is they could eventually continue living in that area in other affordable housing. It’s about helping them build a more stable life.

This fundraiser is the first step on that road.

“You have to have a study to get money and it costs money to do anything. And the budgets [from higher levels of government] for women’s projects have been pretty tight for a long time so we need to act locally,” she said.

Marsh has personal reasons for wanting to step up and help CWAV.

“I have been one of their clients. I want CWAV to be out in front for women and kids. My vision is that the community would go: ‘Of course we want to help.’ And this is one of many events. This one is obviously not for everyone. Not everyone can afford a ticket like that. But we’ll probably have other dances for $40 and things like that as well,” she said.

“I think the cost to our families is too much to not do something.”

The plans for the new building would include secure housing for families, not like the transitional facility, Somenos House, that offers sanctuary from abuse.

“It would be actual housing. When women and kids actually break free, it would offer transitional housing. Some of them may have been in [the current transition house] but not necessarily. And the abuse doesn’t have to be physical; there’s emotional, sexual and mental abuse. I’m not an expert in this but I’m sure they wouldn’t put women they think are in danger in a place like this. However, it will also be secure. Not just anyone is going to be able to get up there.

“The bottom floor will be the Cowichan Women Against Violence offices, and perhaps some other non-profits. There might be some professional offices, some commercial space. That will help to pay for the building. Those details will be worked out, of course,” Marsh said.

“What’s really important is we have really high stats in this Valley for abuse. We need to do something about it and this is one way to start. Of course, people are also free to donate directly to CWAV, too. They can do it monthly or whatever way they choose, whatever way they want to help.

“The level of abuse in the Valley has a huge impact on families. Something happened to these men when they were boys to make them choose to take these actions now. This is all about the community saying, we’re going to help stop that cycle. We’re not only helping the women and kids, we’re helping the men by helping the women and kids.”

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