A Safe World for Women


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By Dan Gamble, Safe World Canada and Music Correspondent

Ghosts of Violence is a powerful new ballet on the subject of violence against women, which had its world premiere recently in Ottawa, Canada.

Created by the Atlantic Ballet Company of Canada, this multi-media initiative brings the tragic issue of domestic violence back into the spotlight.

This is the largest project the Atlantic Ballet Company has produced in it’s ten-year history.  The culmination of two years of research, discussion, inspiration and creation the ballet has received the support and endorsement of social agencies, family violence organizations, and women’s groups throughout Canada.

The ballet will be performed in every province in Canada, visiting communities small and large before embarking on a  major international world tour.

Ghosts of Violence

Canada: Where a Woman Is Killed Every Week

In Canada, a woman is killed by her current or ex-partner every week of the year.

The majority are killed in their own homes – the one place where a woman should feel safe.

This kind of violence affects girls and women everywhere in the world.

Race, religion, social standing, age - it doesn’t matter. Domestic violence crosses every stereotype.

Honouring Our Lost Sisters Through Dance

The nine dancers, through movement, theatre, music and videography, tell the stories of women who have perished at hands of violent partners in the province of New Brunswick.

At the request of Silent Witness, a New Brunswick organization that speaks out for these victims, the Atlantic Ballet Company accepted the challenge of creating a ballet about this difficult subject.

The goal of the production was to honour these women, increase public awareness, and use the ballet as a catalyst for new community dialogue and action.

She  Hopes for True Love

The ballet tells the heartrending tale of a young woman, She, moving to a new city.  Though She is familiar with stories of domestic abuse (acted out on stage), She believes nothing like that could ever happen to her. 

She hopes to find true love with a new partner, only to have her new relationship become abusive, and end with her murder.

“The ballet melds material inspired, real, and invented.  There are many themes that recur in every case: romance, hope, love, isolation, entrapment, and fear.”  Igor Dobrovolskiy,  Artistic Director and Choreographer of the Atlantic Ballet Company.

“Remember Me”

Accompanying the ballet is a traveling exhibit of life-sized, wooden, female silhouettes.  Each silhouette represents a New Brunswick woman who was murdered by a husband, partner or intimate acquaintance.

New Brunswick Silent Witness Project

All of the silhouettes are painted red, and adorned with a shield, on which is described the life and death of each victim.  These are profoundly moving pieces.

The exhibit was created by the New Brunswick Silent Witness Project.  

New Brunswick Silent Witness Project

 The goal of the New Brunswick Silent Witness Project is to speak out on behalf of these silent witnesses whose own voices have been silenced forever. The silhouettes are also intended to break the silence around the issue of domestic violence, and promote constructive action.

Indeed, two of the silhouettes, wear a shield that says “Remember Me”. 

These are meant to commemorate women who are currently suffering from domestic abuse, as well as all the murdered women whose killers were not charged or convicted.

Therese Murray, a member of the Silent Witness committee, told me how much love and attention was given to each of the silhouettes.  When the exhibit is traveling, each silhouette has its own individual traveling case, with the woman’s name on it. 

“We strive to give these women in death, the kind of respect and care they should have received during their lives.”