Posts Tagged montreal massacre

Bystanders Can Save Lives

PEI Family Violence Prevention Week, February 12 to 18, 2017, is focusing on what bystanders can do to help prevent and end violence. On December 6, 2016, at the Montreal Massacre Memorial Service in Charlottetown, PEI, PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women Chairperson Mari Basiletti told her story of surviving an assault and having her life saved by a bystander’s intervention. Mari’s experience wasn’t family violence, but the bystander did not know this. Taking action as a bystander can save lives. Find out more about PEI’s Family Violence Prevention Week at stopfamilyviolence.pe.ca.

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2016 Memorial Service Gallery

The selection of photos below are from the December 6, 2016 Memorial Service for Victims of Violence held at the Confederation Centre of the Arts (venue sponsor). Thanks to everyone who attended the service and participated in the 2016 Purple Ribbon Campaign Against Violence.

We remember 1989
27 Years Since the Montreal Massacre

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  • December 6, 2016 – CBCNEWS PEI: ‘We have to keep reminding people:’ Montreal Massacre remembered in Charlottetown … link
  • December 6, 2016 – The Guardian: Charlottetown memorial remembers victims of violence against women … link

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Believe Survivors / Croyez la victime

Believe Survivors

La version française suit

December 6, 2016

December has arrived – the time of year when we see the traditional red and green decorations everywhere in our communities. These are happy symbols of the festive holiday season now upon us. We also see people wearing small purple ribbons above their hearts on their winter coats – a sad symbol in remembrance of the fact of gender violence on Prince Edward Island.

2016-12-05-11_53_36-new-notificationThe PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women launched the 2016 Purple Ribbon Campaign Against Violence on November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The Campaign culminates in our Memorial Service on December 6th, the 27th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. On that date we remember the 14 women who were murdered at the École Polytechnique in 1989 because they were women. Sadly, at our Annual Memorial Service we also remember the 10 women who have been murdered on PEI since 1989.

The statistics from Women in PEI 2015 show that in 2014-2015 women made up 85% of the victims of abuse cases, and 92% of the victims of sexual assault cases referred to Victim Services. Women have consistently made up at least 94% of the recipients of Emergency Protection Orders under PEI’s Victims of Family Violence Act. These statistics tell us that we need to continue our Purple Ribbon Campaign, and we need to increase our collective efforts to address the problem of male violence against women.

This year the theme of the Purple Ribbon Campaign is Believe Survivors. A survivor can be defined as “a person who carries on in spite of hardships or trauma.” There are many people in our society who have survived many hardships, including war and hunger, or hatred, isolation, and discrimination. Some Indigenous people in Canada have survived residential schools and their legacy; across Canada all Indigenous people have survived the historic trauma of policies and decisions that deny their worldview and that hurt them as a group. Some people have survived gender violence, family violence, sexual violence, emotional or psychological violence, or physical violence.

When someone who has survived trauma tells us about their ordeal, we need to listen to their story and we need to believe them. We do not need to doubt and question, we do not need to find proof. By listening and believing, we provide a safe place for them to share their traumatic memories. By listening and believing, we can reduce the sense of isolation the survivor may feel.

In Canada only a very low number of cases of violence against women are reported to police, and there are low rates of prosecution and conviction of the numbers that are reported. There is much that needs to be done to improve the response of our justice system to survivors of violence. But first we need to listen, and believe survivors.

The public is invited to attend the Memorial Service for Victims of Violence on Tuesday, December 6th, from 12:00 noon to 1 PM, in Memorial Hall, Confederation Centre of the Arts (venue sponsor) in Charlottetown.

Mari Basiletti, Chairperson
PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women

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Croyez la victime

6 décembre 2016

Le mois de décembre est arrivé – c’est le temps de l’année où nos communautés sont décorées en rouge et vert, couleurs traditionnelles du temps des Fêtes. Ce sont des symboles festifs de la saison. Nous voyons aussi des gens porter un petit ruban violet près de leur coeur, épinglé sur leur manteau d’hiver – un triste symbole de la violence sexiste qui existe à l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard.

2016-12-05-11_53_36-new-notificationLe 25 novembre, Journée internationale pour l’élimination de la violence à l’égard des femmes, le Conseil consultatif sur la situation de la femme de l’Î.-P.-É. a lancé sa Campagne du ruban violet contre la violence pour l’année 2016. Cette campagne se termine par notre service commémoratif le 6 décembre; il s’agira du 27e anniversaire du massacre de Montréal. Cette journée-là, nous nous souviendrons des 14 femmes qui ont été assassinées à l’École polytechnique en 1989 parce qu’elles étaient des femmes. Tristement, lors de notre service commémoratif, nous nous souviendrons aussi des 10 femmes qui ont été assassinées à l’Î.-P.-É. depuis 1989.

Les statistiques tirées de la publication Women in PEI 2015 démontrent qu’en 2014-2015, les femmes représentaient 85 % des victimes de violence et 92 % des victimes d’agression sexuelle orientées vers le Service d’aide aux victimes. Les femmes ont toujours représenté au moins 94·% des bénéficiaires d’ordonnances de protection d’urgence dans le cadre de la Victims of Family Violence Act (loi sur les victimes de violence familiale) de l’Î.-P.-É. Ces statistiques nous disent que nous devons poursuivre notre Campagne du ruban violet et que nous devons augmenter nos efforts collectifs pour aborder le problème de la violence des hommes contre les femmes.

Cette année, le thème de la Campagne du ruban violet est Croyez la victime. On peut décrire la victime comme étant « une personne qui poursuit sa vie malgré les difficultés ou les traumatismes qu’elle a pu vivre. » Bien des gens dans notre société ont enduré des épreuves, y compris la guerre, la faim, la haine, l’isolation et la discrimination. Certains peuples autochtones au Canada ont survécu aux pensionnats indiens ou sont affectés par l’héritage qu’ils ont laissé aux futures générations; tous les Autochtones du pays ont survécu au traumatisme historique des politiques et des décisions qui les ont privées de leur vision du monde et qui leur ont causé du tort en tant que groupe. Certaines personnes ont survécu à la violence axée sur les sexes, à la violence familiale, à la violence sexuelle, à la violence psychologique ou à la violence physique.

Lorsqu’une personne qui a survécu à un traumatisme nous raconte son épreuve, il faut écouter et croire. Il ne faut pas douter et questionner; il ne faut pas chercher des preuves. En l’écoutant et en la croyant, nous lui fournissons un endroit sécuritaire lui permettant de partager ses souvenirs traumatiques. Nous pouvons aussi atténuer son sentiment d’isolement.

Au Canada, très peu de cas de violence faite aux femmes sont signalés à la police, et les taux de poursuites et de condamnations découlant des cas qui sont signalés sont très bas. Il reste toujours beaucoup à faire afin d’améliorer les mesures d’intervention prises par la justice auprès des victimes de violence. D’abord, nous devons écouter et croire les victimes.

Le public est invité à assister au service commémoratif pour les victimes de violence le mardi 6 décembre de midi à 13 h dans la Salle commémorative du Centre des arts de la Confédération (commanditaire de la salle) à Charlottetown.

Mari Basiletti, la présidente
Conseil consultatif sur la situation de la femme de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard

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Presentation on Family Violence Prevention

Prince Edward Island Advisory Council on the Status of Women
Presentation on Family Violence Prevention
to the Standing Committee on Health, Social Services and Seniors

Presented by Jane Ledwell, Executive Director
and Michelle Jay, Program Coordinator
March 12, 2014

Excerpt from presentation, page 1:

Every year for over twenty years, Island women organize and host a Montreal Massacre Memorial Service on December 6th. We honour the memory of murdered women with roses and candles and Silent Witnesses. We remember the 14 victims of the Montreal Massacre of 1989, but also the 9 Prince Edward Island women who have been murdered since 1989 at the hands of men who knew them.

Some of these women’s deaths fell into the category of “family violence,” committed by dating partners, common-law or marital partners, or exes. But some of these deaths were not “family violence.” Some were murdered by acquaintances or neighbours. The women murdered in the Montreal Massacre were murdered by a stranger, but they were selected, singled out, and murdered because they were women.

This is part of the reason that the Advisory Council on the Status of Women talks about “violence against women and children” as well as “family violence.” As a province, we need to work on both. Both violence against women and family violence are about power and control. And, we argue strongly, the root causes of both are found in gender inequality which distributes power and control unequally in families and in society.

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A Bold Vision: Ethical Empowered Erotics and the Politics of Radical Consent

Dr. Colleen MacQuarrie is a past Chairperson of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women. She was chair of the Council from 1992 to 1993. Colleen is a mother, a partner, a researcher, and a tireless advocate. She has worked for the Government of PEI in health and social services and now teaches in the Department of Psychology at the University of Prince Edward Island, where her research and teaching are always engaged with the community, embedded in participatory approaches, and focused on social justice. We are grateful that she is willing to examine complex and controversial topics, including women’s reproductive health. Colleen is a fierce advocate for consent and has worked alongside survivors of sexual assault and abuse. We were honoured to hear her comments at the Montreal Massacre Memorial Service.

The theme for the 2013 Purple Ribbon Campaign Against Violence is consent: “ASK. Sex without consent is a crime.” At the December 6, 2013, Montreal Massacre Memorial Service in Charlottetown, Colleen gave a speech about consent.

Good afternoon everyone. Thank you to the Advisory Council on the Status of Women and the many individuals and organizations who contributed to today’s action.

“First Mourn Then Work for Change”, this is the creed of every December 6. Each year, we gather as a community to commemorate this atrocity and to remind ourselves that the struggle to end violence over women is continual. Each year we renew our efforts to change the systems and structures that support and perpetuate woman abuse. We do this for ourselves and earnestly for our children and our grandchildren.

We have a bold vision. We envision a world where woman abuse is eradicated. Eradication means we root out the ways violence is upheld in abuses of power which are asserting power over another to control and to manipulate their lives. Power is not a thing to be eradicated but rather it is a central aspect of how humans interact. “Power Over” behaviours must be replaced by “Power With” behaviours. So let us embrace our power to transform our world. This year in keeping with the theme of consent, I want us to embark on a journey of embracing the ethical and the radical politics of consent.

How might we use our power for transformation in radical consent? First imagine that each of us has a space around our bodies where we are safe and no one may enter without invitation. Invitation is the operative word here. Next imagine that everyone else has their own safe space. Radical consent means we ask to be invited into their space and we honour with grace their needs. How does this become a bold vision and a system changer?

We can start with our children. The politics of radical consent sets the tone for how we interact with them and how we expect our children to honour their own personal space. For example, something I have witnessed repeatedly is children are asked to ‘give someone a hug – or a kiss- good bye.’ If the child shies away they may be admonished to comply. This teaches them to ignore their own interests and feelings. The politics of radical consent requires us to never coerce children to demonstrate affection. Pay attention. The next time you offer to hug a favorite small person and they show reluctance, practice ethical consent. Smile and gracefully give space to the next generation’s empowerment and change the world while you do so. Think of all the ways you can create ethical empowered interactions with children and model with them this bold vision for our future.

Now, I want you to journey with me to an adult space of radical consent and ethical empowered erotics. Moving the ethics of radical consent to adult power sharing, you may think it becomes more difficult in sexual encounters. In fact rape culture, encourages us to think it is more difficult. Part of rape culture is a pattern that makes excuses for rape. It is a culture in which the victim is blamed for his or her own assault because they “got drunk”, “should have known better”, or “didn’t say ‘no’ clearly enough”. It is a culture in which consent is thought to be a tricky thing, and in which people complain of mixed messages. This understanding of consent is not going to change the system. It only serves to reinforce problematic cultural norms. It also denies that there is a big difference between a reluctant agreement and an enthusiastic invitation. It denies the mutuality of intimacy.

Today I want to share a radical yet simple system changing idea, a bold vision. I am asking us to embark on a journey into the ethical erotics of consent where we are lovers who seek the bounds of our own desires in communion with other ethical eroticists. This is a politics that moves us beyond the staid “No means No” mantra of consent. It moves us to an ‘Only Yes means Yes’ erotic awareness. The yes, is a moment of invitation. The intimate space just before touch where the other is fully seen; the awe of a breath that asks for an invitation, may I kiss you, may I kiss you here? This is a dance of awareness with the other. You and your partner(s) in an intimate tango of asking and seeking permissions that deepens the experience because you not only wanted to, you also directed the action. You are a desiring subject in your own erotic encounter. Knowing that you are both doing exactly what you want, the way you want it. This is a mood enhancer, a game changer, and this is a bold vision.

Ethical empowered erotics links care of the self with care of the other in a mutual intimacy. For either to be missing or limited tips the balance from shared pleasure to dangerous sex either physically or emotionally. This then would be unethical, disempowering, and anti-erotic. Ethical empowered erotics is also about learning how to accept a refusal or withdrawal gracefully at any moment in your intimate tango.

I will leave you with The ABCs of Ethical Empowered Erotics:

A-Always ask for what you want,
B-Before any action, and always practice
C- Continual and constant consent through invitation.

If we practice the ABCs of Ethical Empowered Erotics with our adult lovers and practice the ethics of radical consent in all our relationships, especially with our children, then we are the game changers and this is our bold vision for eradicating violence. Thank you.

Colleen MacQuarrie, PhD. Associate Professor and Chair Psychology Department, UPEI.

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Choice and the Cycle of Violence – Speech by Trish Cheverie

“Choice and the Cycle of Violence”
A transcription of comments delivered by
Trish Cheverie, QC, PEI Legal Aid Lawyer
on December 6, 2012, at the
Charlottetown Montreal Massacre Memorial Service

Trish Cheverie has been practising law for 20 years, most of that time with Legal Aid. Her practice is now exclusively criminal defense work, but she has also done family law and child protection work. She worked on the Domestic Violence Court Development Committee commencing in 2004. She was also a member of the Female Offender Re-integration Project Advisory Committee and served for five years on the Premier’s Victim Services Advisory Committee. During the winter of 2006 to 2007, Trish was the Canadian International Fellow with the International Legal Foundation, a New York-based, UN-sanctioned NGO mentoring legal aid lawyers in Afghanistan. She received her Queens Counsel designation in 2006. Trish is currently President of the New London Women’s Institute. In October, she was elected President of the John Howard Society of Canada, having served on the national board since 2004.

As I look around this room I see many distinguished faces. I also see friends and colleagues and people who have worked to address these issues for many, many years – who’ve dedicated their lives, really – so I am truly, truly humbled to be asked to speak to you today. My comments are based certainly on my experience, and, again, as I look around the room, I’m quite awed by the experience that’s in the room.

I think the [Purple Ribbon Campaign] theme that has been chosen this year – “choice,” and that use of violence is a choice – is really a significant theme. It’s significant for lots of reasons, but for me, when I think about it, the real significance is that it’s a message of hope. It’s saying that as human beings we all have the capacity to make positive changes in our lives. That happens when we recognize the circumstances that we are in, and when we realize that our own actions or behaviours are a result of choices that we’ve made.

Trish Cheverie speaks at the December 6, 2012, Charlottetown Montreal Massacre Memorial Service.

Trish Cheverie speaks at the December 6, 2012, Charlottetown Montreal Massacre Memorial Service.

It embodies, really, the values of our whole society. Because if we believe in choice, we believe in individual freedom – that people have power over themselves and their actions and that they are capable of accepting responsibility for themselves and their actions.

It’s that human capacity that I see every day in my work, and the frustration for myself and for many who work in this field is that sometimes we don’t offer the help that’s necessary for many people – the people that are entangled in the cycle of domestic violence – to make the positive choices that they need to make.

We need to believe, to believe in choice as well, that human beings are capable of rational decision-making, that we can decide what is in our own best interests and what is in the interests of those we love. We can decide what we need to be the person we should be.

I think it is also important as we contemplate these ideas that we recognize the factors that limit the capacity to choose and the choices that some people have.

We have to recognize in this real world that there are factors like poverty, lack of work, lack of education, addictions, and mental health issues that really limit an individual’s capacity of people to make positive choices. Just very recently, for example, I was noting that the Canadian Bar Association, a little less than two weeks ago, has called for a national inquiry in to the circumstances of Aboriginal women, because as many of you who are here know, Aboriginal women suffer exponentially the consequences of violence. So when we have an organization like the Canadian Bar Association saying that this is a national scandal that needs to be addressed, then we should be paying attention to the causes of that, as well as the implications and the consequences.

I also wanted to mention briefly my experience in Afghanistan, because what that brought to me was understanding that these issues are not limited to one society or one culture; they are cross-cultural. My expectations were pretty low when I travelled to perhaps what is considered to be one of the most misogynist countries in the world where poverty, where the depths of poverty are there. I expected the shock would be how much more virulent, how much more institutionalized, the violence would be. And the great shock to me was that it wasn’t that much different. Perhaps the difference I would describe as more [institutionalized]. But what I found was that the same issues cause the violence, and the same willing system of good, well-meaning, and kind-hearted and wonderful people working to change the circumstances of people who were engaged in the violence. And many of those young people that I worked with were the age of the victims of the Montreal Massacre, and I was completely, completely blown away by their capacity to dedicate themselves to changing the face of their nation and to ensuring that the values that I just talked about – individual autonomy and the freedom to choose – would be what would be valued in their country’s future. So those things are universal; and those problems are universal.

I also wanted to say that we need to but the notion of choice in the context of our humanity. We need to understand that part of the responsibility of the choice is accepting of the responsibility for those consequences. And sometimes people are going to make bad choices, and their going to fail. But it’s a human process. It takes a long time to create change, and it takes a lot of dedication to the process.

The criminal justice system is a very blunt instrument. People who are in desperate need continue to slip through the cracks. We still deal regularly in the provincial court system with domestic violence cases, we still see some of the same people over and over and over again, we still schedule trials knowing that the victim isn’t likely to attend or that if the victim does attend she will not give evidence. And sometimes it’s because of fear.

Almost always it’s because of fear. But not simply fear of the person who is accused. Fear that the family will be destroyed if the truth is told. Fear that the children may be taken. Fear that they will lose everything that they value, including their home and their other relationships. Fear is the reason that so often these women refuse to engage in the systems we have in place to support them.

They are doing that because they have no other choice. Or they believe that they don’t.

I think it’s also important that, even though we are empowered as an institution to ensure firstly the protection of children, we need to respect and to treat with dignity every victim, regardless of the place where they are in their own lives.

We know how to do better. We know how to do better. We don’t need to be losing these women who have the courage to call the police. We don’t need to be missing altogether the families that are never in contact with authorities for the very same reason. And these are people who continue to slip through the cracks.

The Justice Options for Women project made a series of recommendations. The primary recommendation was for a domestic violence court option in this province. The first committee on this issue came together and made recommendations in 2004. We have continued to engage with government since then with respect to the necessity for a domestic violence court option. And we have had a lot of positive feedback from government. That continues to this day. I know Minister Sherry, [Minister of Environment, Labour and Justice,] recently made some remarks that they are continuing their efforts to try to get the funding to do a pilot.

I’m from the Prince County area, as many of you know. I think we are the perfect place to do the pilot. The reason for that is because we have an incredibly collaborative practice in Prince County. We have people like David O’Brien and John Diamond working for the Prosecutor’s Office. We have Victim Services people like Jean Profit. We have absolutely incredibly dedicated Correctional Services people like Mary MacDonald and Cathy Campbell… and I could just go on and on. But we are a group with a lot of experience in this area who have been working in a highly collaborative way for many years. And we can do that job. We can do a good job and we can make real change.

The piece that’s missing is the therapeutic piece. It’s the treatment piece, and it’s expensive. I wanted to just mention that Nova Scotia has just recently piloted a domestic violence court in Sydney, Cape Breton. Sydney was chosen, again, because there already was in that justice place a highly collaborative practice, and essentially what they have done is hired a manager and put in the therapeutic piece.

What the therapeutic piece offers that we don’t have right now is the immediate intervention, the risk assessment by professionals, who will then recommend the appropriate program. Their programs run from five weeks, to ten weeks, to twenty-five weeks for the most serious cases. And essentially they started that in July, and I understand from what I’ve read about the program that it is going well, and I think the provincial investment was in the range of $800,000 to $1 million to get that going for two years. The hope is that it will then eventually expand all throughout the province.

What happens in the [domestic violence] court is that the intervention is immediate and the perpetrator is given the opportunity while the window is there, while there is remorse, where there is regret, where there is a willingness to do whatever it is going to take to maintain the family. And at that point, you get them into the therapy, and they make the commitment by pleading guilty, by taking responsibility for what they have done, and then committing themselves to the work that has to be done. It also offers similar supports for the family, and I think many of these women who have been shying away from the provincial support system we have now will participate, because what they always say, no matter what they say about what they want to happen, they always say, “I just want the violence to stop.”

We can do a really good job if we had that opportunity, and I know we can.

I think also if we were able to operate that court for a six-month period of time even, we would begin to get the other families that have not contacted the system coming into the system. And in that way, we can make a real difference.

It’s always about the money, and I have the ear of a lot of powerful people in this room, and I know there have been discussions in Cabinet. I’m going to appeal to you on the basis that we’re not just talking about what we can do right now. We’re talking about the future generations.

And that’s when we get into the whole notion of a cycle of violence.

The 2011 PEI Equality Report Card had a focus group that talked a lot about the strong connection between childhood trauma and future offending. Also, addictions, mental health – the things that happen to children who are traumatized as they grow older. They suggested that we first ensure the safety of the children, and then provide services for the parents to deal with the grief, the anger – education around these issues.

We need to do everything we can because of the children.

The costs that are rising in addictions and mental health and incarcerating people – that’s just going to get worse, if we don’t get to the root.

As you all might expect, I have seen and heard some terrible things over my years in the practice of law. What sticks with me and what haunts me are the circumstances of the children. The six-year-old who was hiding behind the shower curtain. The 18-month-old in his mother’s arms as she’s being dragged around the kitchen. The ten-year-old girl in a recent case who called her aunt late at night and said, “Mommy won’t wake up, I think Daddy killed her.”

I don’t want to be seeing that little girl in ten years’ time, sitting in a jail cell, talking about her addictions. I don’t want to be the first person that’s ever talked to her about the trauma of her childhood, about post-traumatic stress disorder, about addictions. I don’t want to have to keep doing that.

I don’t want that little 18-month-old boy to be the 17-year-old that I’m talking to about the girl, his first girlfriend, who is trying to leave him, and he’s relentlessly harassing her.

We can do a lot about these issues. We have to make a commitment as a community.

We also have to make a commitment with respect to our own responsibilities as individual members of the community. When you look around your neighbourhood, we know, in PEI, who the families are that are having problems. You need to be brave enough to stick your nose in. If you can’t do that, then go to the Voluntary Resource Council. Volunteer as a Big Brother or Big Sister. There are a lot of organizations that do tremendous work with children who are in need. And sometimes it doesn’t take very much – I know that from my experience. I’ve had young children that I dealt with as children that they come up to me years later and said, “You know, you’re the only person that ever told me I was smart.” You know, “You thought I was funny.” It can be a kind word… It can be saying to the neighbour, let me take the kids to the movies. Let me give you a break.

Befriend people. Offer what you can. But most importantly, look at those children and recognize the power that you have to change their lives. Sometimes it doesn’t take very much. Be the safe haven that that child can go to when things are bad at home. There’s a lot we can do.

Finally, I just want to say I’m hopeful. I remain hopeful. We’ve done a lot of good work over the years. Each of you has. Change is happening. There’s a lot more work to do, but we can do it.

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