Healing Gaia

November is Woman Abuse Prevention Month in Ontario

Shine a purple light on gendered violence to make it impossible to hide.

By Doreen Nicoll
Published November 06, 2018

November is Woman Abuse Prevention month in Ontario. It's important to remember intimate partner violence is not a woman's issue it's actually a man's issue - they are the ones inflicting the harm - and it's a human rights issue. Not all men are abusive but we need the good guys to be allies in the fight to eradicate violence against women and girls.

Here are important facts you should know:

The Ontario Domestic Violence Death Review Committee (DVDRC) was established 13 years ago, "To assist the Office of the Chief Coroner in the investigation and review of deaths of persons that occur as a result of domestic violence, and to make recommendations to help prevent such deaths in similar circumstances."

During that time the DVDRC has established that intimate partner femicides are predictable and preventable.

The DVDRC created a list of 39 risk factors involved in cases of lethality. Here are the top ten factors:

When several of these factors occur simultaneously that's a clear indication of impending lethality.

In almost every case at least one person outside the intimate relationship was aware that something was terribly wrong. But, individuals are reticent to take-action because they don't know what to do.

Woman Abuse Prevention month is usually a time of heightened awareness and opportunities for the public to learn more about this growing pandemic. But, a search for panels, workshops, community movie nights, and discussions proved fruitless.

So during this dearth of information I suggest you check out the Neighbours, Friends and Family (NFF) website to learn the warning signs of abuse and how to safely intervene before it becomes lethal. The NFF site provides information on running your own lunch and learn at work, places of worship, and for interested community groups.

There's information on identifying and helping a woman at risk; how to talk to men who are abusive; safety planning for women who are abused; and a wide array of infographics and information sheets to share.

The Ontario Association for Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH) is holding its sixth annual Wrapped in Courage campaign. While it takes a tremendous amount of courage for a woman to leave her abuser, that courage is not enough. So, wrap yourself in purple this November to show your solidarity for women experiencing gendered violence.

Contact your local shelter to purchase a scarf, tie or pet bandana and be sure to wear purple on November 15th the day to shine a light on women living with, leaving, and healing from domestic violence.

At the end of November OAITH publishes its Femicide List an accounting of all of the women who have been murdered by their intimate partner in Ontario during the past year. The list also includes all femicides or women who have been murdered simply because they were women.

The OAITH Femicide list [PDF] for November 26, 2016 to November 25, 2017 will be release its newest list later this month. The list is based on media reported femicides.

Women's Habitat opened its emergency shelter in South Etobicoke on November 1st, 1978 and was officially incorporated on November 12th, 1978. On Monday, November 12th, 2018 from 6 to 8 pm. they will be holding an Open House in celebration of their 40 years of service.

"It is an honour to celebrate 40 years with our community members who have championed our work", says Silvia Samsa, Executive Director. "We owe our inception to a small but mighty group of women. These women knew the need was overwhelming and knew women and children's lives were being cut short. After over a year of struggle our shelter finally opened on November 1st, 1978. That same night, 12 women and children moved in. Within two weeks all 25 beds were full and we have been full ever since."

Join the celebration at the Women's Habitat Outreach Centre at 140 Islington Avenue, Toronto, Ontario.

If you live any where near Burlington, Ontario you will want to attend Culture Shift on Tuesday, November 27. The Golden Horseshoe Grandmothers Advocacy Network, The Women's Centre of Halton, and Nina's Place sexual assault and domestic violence care centre is partnering with other women's groups to host a panel discussion on ending gender-based violence. Culture Shift will consider how today's young men will be tomorrow's change-makers.

Panelists include Glen Canning, the father of Rehtaeh Parsons a Nova Scotia teenager who was sexually assaulted by 4 males in November 2011. Rehtaeh ended her life April 4, 2013, following months of cyber-abuse and victim blaming.

Gillian Hnatiw, is an accomplished litigator with a diverse practice and one of Canada's foremost practitioners in the areas of sexual assault, harassment and violence.

Talib Hussain, a volunteer and financial supporter of the Strengthening Ties project a fundraising initiative for men to financially support Canada's violence against women shelters across Canada.

Julie S. Lalonde, an internationally recognized women's rights advocate, public educator and recipient of numerous awards for advocacy in women's issues.

Register for this free event being held at Burlington Art Gallery on Eventbrite.com.

November is a month to learn more about becoming an ally for your mom, sisters, aunties, cousins, co-workers, shop clerks, waitresses, or postal workers who are living with, leaving and healing from gendered violence.

Shine a purple light on gendered violence to make it impossible to hide.

Doreen Nicoll is a feminist and a member of several community organizations working diligently to end poverty, hunger and gendered violence.


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