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Purple Light Nights shines the light on Intimate Partner Violence

Every October, community groups and the RCMP work to shine a light on Intimate Partner Violence, through something called “Purple Light Nights.”

RCMP (Nanaimo) Constable Sherri Wade says an abusive relationship  may include overly controlling and jealous behaviour, like checking your cell phone or emails. It can also be a confusing mix of love and fear. She encourages victims to practice self-compassionate. 

“First of all be gentle with yourself, because you’re potentially considering a huge change. It’s absolutely normal to freak out whenever you’re considering any kind of change. Do some research on what resources are available in your community and online.”

“I would also recommend some reflection; is this the type of relationship you imagine yourself being in? When did it change and what could have caused those changes? You’re not looking to justify what’s happening but you’re just sort of being aware, gathering information so that you are prepared.

Wade says those considering leaving should take steps to protect their personal safety. “Reaching out to those community agencies who can help you determine next steps…maybe it’s a safety plan, a long or short term, and that you just be curious about what’s out there and try to slowly. Shine a light on what’s happening because if you’ve been living in isolation and feeling like you’re the only person in this situation, I guarantee you are not. Absolutely you’re not alone.”

The Purple Light Nights website has more information about Intimate Partner Violence:

Learn more about Intimate Partner Violence

What is Intimate Partner Violence:

  • Between intimate partners – present or past
  • Intentional use of: physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or financial abuse by a person to harm , threaten, intimidate or control another person in an intimate relationship.

Potential Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship:

  • Checking a partner’s phone or email without permission
  • Making disparaging remarks about or to a partner in public or private
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Possessiveness or extreme jealousy

Where to get Help

  • A victim may think they somehow provoked the abuse but the abuser is responsible for their own behaviour.  Abusive partners blame their actions on the victim.
  • An abusive relationship can be a confusing mix of love, fear, dependency, intimidation, guilt and hope.
  • A safety plan can help you reduce the risks if you decide to leave.  Compile documents such as personal ID, bank cards, keys, cell phone.  Put these items in a safe place.

Click here for more information on Safety Planning Download

  • Not all abuse is physical.  Abusive behaviour can exert emotional, psychological, or even financial control.
  • Let someone you know and trust know about the abuse or call Victim Link. Victim Link is a toll free, confidential, multilingual service available across BC and the Yukon 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be accessed by calling or texting 1-800-563-0808 or send an email to [email protected]

Links and Resources

Family Violence Initiative

Government of Canada, Department of Justice

Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse


Ending Violence Association of BC

BC Society of Transition Houses

Education and awareness materials for families dealing with violence

Government of Canada Society of Transition Houses

Ending Violence Canada Association of Canada

What Does a Healthy Relationship Look Like?

Canadian Red Cross

Intimate Partner Abuse against Men

Government of Canada

Abuse is Wrong  (Booklet)

Government of Canada, Department of Justice

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