Recently Larry Marshall (Co-Chair of our Social Research and Planning Council and the Executive Director of Children’s Aid Society) and I presented the latest Social Research and Planning Council report, Opening the Door: A Report on Violence Against Women in Perth and Huron Counties, to the Goderich Town Council. This is a difficult topic; many women experience abuse right here in Perth and Huron. The report captured national research, local interviews with key informants and stories from local women with lived experience. Through an anonymous survey, one of the women said: “I am afraid that I’m going to die at the hands of my ex-husband, and that my children are going to die.” Such a terrible situation! And in a rural context, there are other challenges. For example, many women are more reluctant to report abuse because of our small communities where everyone knows everyone’s business. The report goes on to make several recommendations to improve local service for women, men and children affected. For more information, please read the VAW Report.
At the end of the meeting, one of the local councillors addressed everyone in the room saying: “I’m so glad to see two men reporting on this issue!” To that councillor and to everyone I say: I’m humbled by the opportunity to advocate for voices that might otherwise be unheard. May we all have courage to speak up, to make a difference, to care.