Several First Nations women across the province have teamed up to provide a safe online space for women and girls to warn each other of any danger they may face.
The B.C. First Nations and Friends Women’s Awareness Group on Facebook has grown to more than 2,000 members since it was created by June Jimmie of Chilliwack on Feb. 17, 2021.
Jimmie said there are many missing women, and that recently there have been frequent reports of women being frightened as they were followed and harassed—some even almost grabbed.
“We want a safe space for women to be aware,” she said. “Too much has been happening lately, and that is why the page has been made.”
Falon William, who resides at the Deep Creek Reserve north of Williams Lake, is one of the site’s seven administrators.
She works at Northern Shuswap Tribal Council and recalled how a man in his vehicle followed a young girl and her friend from 7-Eleven in downtown Williams Lake to Lake City Secondary School.
The young girl, who William identifies as a niece, and her friend tried to get away from him as he yelled and whistled at them.
“The thing that got me was there were people that walked by them that witnessed this, and they didn’t stop and make sure these that these girls were OK,” William said.
“That’s where it hits home for me is we have to watch out for everybody.”
Bullying and violence is not tolerated by the women’s-only group which is meant as a safe and trusting place for all members.
As William invites women from her large family and friends to join, she hopes the group will continue to grow.
“The police officer took care of it right away, and he treated me very well,” William said of when she had made a police report after a man exposed himself while she was walking in a back alley.
“But that doesn’t mean that is everyone’s experience either,” she added.