By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
The fifth annual Shed Light on Sexual Abuse campaign will be taking place on Saturday, Feb. 17, with a screening of the film Victor Walk.
Victor Walk is a documentary about former NHL player Theo Flurry’s 10-day Victor Walk from Toronto to Ottawa to raise awareness about child sexual abuse. The film first premiered back in 2016, with Allison Lee, Shed Light organizer and local activist, attending the LA premiere. The showing of the film in Coaldale would make it the sixth showing throughout Canada.
“It’s about bringing the awareness aspect to the subject, so this year, I wanted to incorporate the Victor Walk movie,” said Lee. “The movie is about Theo Flurry’s journey from kind of coming out of a really dark place in his life, where he was really about to kill himself.
“It’s kind of about his story from the moment in time where he realized he didn’t want to actually die, he wanted to live and he wanted to bring light to this subject and be kind of a voice for the voiceless. So the whole movie follows his journey from Toronto to Ottawa, when he decided to walk. And so the movie has the whole thing of him when he first started walking in Toronto to Ottawa, and then it’s following along the different Victor Walk stories that there was.”
Lee said that the film follows the journey from “victim to victor”. She wanted to host a showing of the film because of the openness of the Shed Light event, noting how it resonates with the #metoo movement that has sprung up in recent months.
“This year, I really wanted it to be about awareness, especially with the #metoo movement and you know the #timesup movement,” said Lee.
“I think it’s really coming to light with Hollywood, it’s really becoming a subject that needs to be talked about and it is starting to be talked about. I thought the movie was kind of the best way to get the public, be able to come, listen, hear about the stories and kind of have the chance to be more educated on the subject.
“As soon as you watch it, you’ll have a different perspective, whether you’re a victim or not, or know somebody whose a victim. You kind of get an inside glance of what it is actually like to be a victim of this crime and trying to stand up against society really, and trying to make your voice by heard and the passion that so many people have for this type of subject. It’s an amazing movie, I can’t even describe how powerful it is.”
Flurry will be in attendance at the film showing, along with a few other guest speakers.
The Victor Walk film showing will go Feb. 17 at the Gem of the West Museum. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the film starting at 7 p.m. The event is free to attend, although donations will be accepted. A discussion period will follow after the film.
“Theo (Flurry) is a super approachable guy, so the conversation will be him standing there talking, it will be very open, encourage people to ask questions, just kind of to have an open dialogue.”
After the film, there are also plans for a plaque unveiling for a rock monument to go in front of the Shed Light tree by the town office.
“It will forever just be a monumental thing in the Town of Coaldale, which is really huge for a small town in southern Alberta to be standing up and showing they stand in solidarity with victims of this crime,” said Lee.
“That’s huge all over Canada, because not many places, or cities, all across Canada have made a very bold statement like that, so I am over the moon excited that the Town of Coaldale wants Shed Light to continue in the town and wants to continue the support for victims. It does happen, and it does happen here, but that’s okay, because we’re going to make sure that people know that it happens, it’s not going to become a taboo topic that’s not talked about.”
As concrete can’t be poured in cold weather, the date for the monument to be installed is to be determined, although Lee says it will likely take place this spring.
Lee started the Shed Light event back in 2012 by lighting a tree by the town office with a string of Christmas lights, collecting donations for each light lit. Lee said the lights were meant to represent victims of sexual assault, and the tree will stay lit until Feb. 17.
“Overall, what it’s suppose to represent is victims,” said Lee. “When one victim stands up, it’s not very bright, but when all victims come together in solidarity, it’s much more noticeable.”
Lee says that one in three girls and one in five boys will be sexually assaulted before they turn 18-years-old, numbers she says are “staggering” when you compare it to “the third little girl you pass on the street”.
“When you tell people that, it doesn’t hit, but then you show a comparison, and that is kind of what the tree is meant to symbolize, is that there is a huge amount of victims, but one victim is not alone, that there is a whole lot of us, and we will stand together, and we will make it change.”
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