Afternoon raises funds for women fleeing domestic violence

Oak Bay gardens open for Victoria Women’s Transition House

‘A Safe Place

Stroll through the beautiful gardens while listening to the sounds of the Victoria Conservatory of Music performers.

Sip on a glass of bubbly or a cup of tea, while mingling with friends and bidding on the mini silent auction.

A fun afternoon, sponsored by the Victoria Golf Club, in an Oak Bay garden, supports Victoria Women’s Transition House programs for women and children escaping domestic violence.

“We’ll have a little mini auction and maybe play some games. All funds raised from that event will go towards the Transition House,” said Tilly Enriquez, chair of Victoria Golf Club Charity Events.

A bridge tournament, adult and junior golf tournaments and gala barbecue at the picturesque golf course round out the week.

Proceeds from those events go to Power to Be, KidSport, the VGC Evans Caddie Scholarship and Victoria Women’s Transition House.

The ladies’ afternoon on Aug. 17 however, that’s all about the 18-bed transition house.

“We’ve supported women’s transition house for many years,” Enriquez said. “We would like to support the community that we’re in. All the money stays within the community.”

In an average year, Victoria Women’s Transition House serves more than 2,000 women survivors of domestic abuse and hundreds of children who witness abuse through the shelter, counselling programs and the Crisis Line.

“We’ve been in the community for 41 years and we’re proud to still be here serving women and children fleeing domestic abuse. The sad reality is we are still needed,” said Susan Howard, Development Director, Victoria Women’s Transition House Society.

“There’s been a really wonderful relationship between Victoria Women’s Transition and the Victoria Golf Club.”

Oak Bay resident Vicki Mather offered her Uplands home for the event, in part because a friend of hers was killed 25 years ago in a domestic violence incident.

“It really hits home for people about why it’s so important that places like Transition House exist,” Mather said. “It’s a difficult charity to raise recognition for because people don’t want to acknowledge domestic violence.”

Her friend was a “brilliant woman” who held a high leadership position at the university, Mather said.

“She was a very successful woman in her profession. We were in doctoral studies together,” she said. “It happens at every socio-economic level, every level of education.”

“We just don’t like to talk about those things and people don’t like to acknowledge that it still goes on in some relationships,” she said.

To offer free services, the transition house fundraises 40 per cent of its budget each year through individual donations, grant applications and generosity of the community.

Women can access the home by calling the 24-hour crisis and information line. After assessment they can stay 30 days.

“While they’re in the shelter over those 30 days we provide counselling. We have all kinds of services and resources available to them for their next steps,” Howard said.

Programming includes group and one-on-one counselling for women and children.

“We are so grateful to them and to the Victoria Golf Club. Everyone’s really pulling together.”

The Ladies’ Afternoon is Wednesday, Aug. 17 from 2 to 5 p.m. in an Oak Bay waterfront home.

Visit victoriagolfclub.formstack.com/forms/gardenparty for tickets, $75 per person ($50 tax receipt) and to learn more about the location.

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