Breaking the chain of violence against women

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Oxford OPP and staff did their part in Tillsonburg Friday morning to help break the chain of violence against women by dancing.

"I don't dance," smiled Inspector Tim Clark, being recruited by Linda Armstrong, Oxford Domestic Assault Review Team (DART) coordinator, for the creation of Armstrong's four-part video, part of the One Billion Rising global campaign designed to end violence against women.

"I'm going to show you the moves," said Armstrong, lining up her volunteer Oxford OPP officers and staff. "We're 'breaking the chain.' This is all you have to do – it's called 'break the chain' – this leg comes up and it's like you're breaking something. Today we're all stopping the violence. Then turn in, then break... then turn in, then break."

"Is it two breaks?" Clark asked as the group warmed up in front of a video camera.

"Breaking that chain, two times," Armstrong nodded. "Try to be in unison. Ready..."

After successfully completing about 30 seconds of a breaking-the-chain-and-twisting dance synchronized to music, Armstrong lined up just the male officers and choreographed another move.

"Point at me, and very slowly raise your arm, all the way up."

After collecting video footage at the Oxford OPP Tillsonburg detachment, Armstrong and her videographer headed to Woosdtock, East Zorra-Tavistock, then Stratford.

"It was fun today, it was really fun," she said later in the day. "We started in Tillsonburg and I was very pleased with the reception we got there. Then we went to Woodstock and we met across the street from the police department. We had several community partners. Then we went off to East Zorra-Tavistock Township, and we had four wee children. That was great fun. Then off to Stratford for the big dance, and we finished off at Mayor (Dan) Mathieson's office at 1:30.

"The one finger represents one billion. Of the world's amost seven billion population, it's estimated that one billion of the population's women and girls suffer some form of violence. So the organizer asks that we have one billion rise in support. Last year, I think we had 204 countries participate... at 12 noon, people were asked to get up from their desks and just raise one finger up in the air to represent their support of having justice around these issues."

Armstrong, also coordinator for Perth County's Stop Violence Against Women Committee, said her Break the Chain video will probably take about three or four weeks to be processed and will be released on YouTube.

"The best way to locate it will be to use these key words – One Billion Rising, 2014, Stratford-Perth, Linda Armstrong. It'll wind up being four-and-a-half minutes. I'm anxious to see the finished product."

chris.abbott@sunmedia.ca

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