Over the past few weeks we have been bombarded by coverage of brutal attacks on women in our community. These attacks range from forcible confinement, rape, torture and murder. Some of the alleged attackers were strangers to their victims while some were known to them. Indeed one was an intimate partner and one a parent.
The victims come from a variety of backgrounds with ages ranging from early teens to mid 50s. Their social sets varied from gated community to precarious housing, with incomes to match.
So what is the common thread here? The only thing they have in common seems to be their gender. They are all women.
We who work in the anti-violence field see woman abuse every day. While the recent highly publicized stories focus on the extreme examples, I implore you to think of the women and children who were and are victimized in our community daily.
For those of you interested in helping these women and children, get involved. Set up trust funds for victims so they don’t have to beg for social assistance; volunteer with one of the groups working with victims and survivors; vow never to use violence in your relationships and help those who you suspect are being hurt by their partners. Write letters to your MLA, city councillors and MP telling them that hurting women and children is not acceptable.
And please think before you say “but he’s a good man”. Good men do not hurt women and children; good men do not use violence to impose their will on others; and good men do not kill those who share their lives.
For the overwhelming number of good men and women out there, help us end this.
Eleanor Summer, executive director
South Okanagan Women in Need Society