Stephanie Elickus is still stunned after seeing the video she shot Saturday in the Oyster Bay area of Ladysmith, which shows two people tearing down red dresses from trees close to the highway.
“How dare you, wow,” she said. “That’s just awful and they just threw it into the bush?”
The red dresses lining highways up and down Vancouver Island and across Canada are part of the Red Dress Project first started in 2009, bringing attention to the more than 1,000 murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls in Canada.
CHEK News first spoke with Elickus in January when she began hanging red dresses and hoped to have 100 along the highway between Port Hardy and Victoria.
In the video shared with CHEK News and seen on social media, two people can be seen with poles reaching up into the trees to remove the dresses hanging from branches and tossing the dresses into the woods.
“It’s disturbing too because it’s just common sense if you see something on the side of the road and you don’t know what it’s for whether it be a toy or flowers or a bike or a picture, I wouldn’t and most people wouldn’t go and touch something like that,” said Elickus. “And something that is so out there like a red dress you’d think people would want to know why or what does it symbolize, not take it down, that’s a lot of nerve.”
The RCMP says they support the campaign and find the actions disturbing, adding they’d like to talk to the people seen in the video.
May 5 is Red Dress Day across Canada and Elickus says she’ll be hanging more dresses where these were torn down.