The relationship between a sister and her brother who pledges to protect her is symbolized in East Asia through the Rakhi ribbon. The brother ties the ribbon on his sister's wrist as a symbol of love and respect, and the City of Surrey has adopted this ritual to symbolize efforts to curb domestic violence.
Going strong into its second year, Mayor Dianne Watts, councillors Barinder Rasode, Marvin Hunt and members of the Rakhi committee were on hand at City Hall on Friday to hold a special Rakhi ceremony to spread the word for the 2012 Surrey Crime Reduction Strategy initiative campaign, which begins on Aug. 2.
"We are doing everything we can in Surrey to raise awareness on domestic violence, and make sure it does not happen again," said Watts.
The mayor also gave special recognition to Rasode, who has taken on the Rakhi initiative as a personal project, and has "done extraordinary work with her team."
A poignant anecdote came from Harpal Johl from DIVERSEcity, a partner in the Rakhi project committee. He spoke of how in India he recalls sitting around bonfires with other men, before a wedding for instance, where others would share the ways they had abused their partners. Johl said this culture of violence cannot continue and that the Rakhi project is an important step for the community.
The braided bracelets will be sold for $5 each with proceeds going to the Surrey Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (SCADA). They will be on sale until Aug.
2 at Surrey City Hall, select Save-On Foods locations, Fruiticana, DIVERSEcity, Kwantlen bookstores, Surrey Women's Centre and Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS).