It Can Happen Here

I apologize that I’m publishing such a downer of a Valentine’s Day post, but I watched the video for One Billion Rising and felt compelled to comment on it.  But I’ll back up a bit.

I’ve been volunteering for a local women’s shelter, My Friend’s House.  I serve on the Board of Directors (and several sub-committees) and even though I’m new to this work, I’m finding it very fulfilling.  For one, it’s a great way to give back to my community.  Two, it’s a cause I really believe in.  We are doing good work.  And three, it is necessary work.  Unfortunately, there is a need for this shelter.  It is never empty.

I live in a lovely community.  It is on the shores of beautiful Georgian Bay.  There are ski resorts nearby and affluent people vacation here.  Even more affluent people retire here.


A lot of people have a picture-perfect image of Collingwood in their minds, and that image does not include domestic violence.  When I joined the board, another new member expressed his initial surprise that there was such demand for our shelter and for the outreach services we provide to victims of abuse.  Collingwood just doesn’t seem like that kind of place.  Unfortunately, every place is “that kind of place.”

And, as Canadians learned this week, domestic violence can happen to any kind of person.  On February 7, 2013, Senator Patrick Brazeau was arrested for domestic assault and sexual assault.  His alleged victim has not been named due to a publication ban.  I will resist the urge to delve into a discussion of Senate reform (Could we start with term limits? Is that too much to ask?) and stick to my point.  Domestic violence is not something that happens to other types of people.  Patrick Brazeau’s arrest should remind us that this type of violence can, and does, take place within every stratum of society.

This brings me back to One Billion Rising, the awareness raising campaign organized by Eve Ensler.  One Billion Rising urges women to come together to fight gender-based violence.  The video  is slick, unnerving and moving.  My initial reaction was that women coming together and dancing doesn’t accomplish much, and that this video would likely go the way of Kony 2012.  But I’ve changed my mind, and I’m hoping that this movement, at the very least, inspires women and girls who may bristle at the word “feminist” to come together and support one another.

But I really hope that this campaign helps people realize that gender-based violence is not a women’s issue.  It’s a human rights issue.  And in the same way that it can happen anywhere, to anyone, it will take all of us coming together to stop it.

14 thoughts on “It Can Happen Here

  1. This is a great post! Valentine’s Day or not, it was worthy of discussion. I’m a strong supporter of the Matthew Shephard Foundation. Violence towards another whether based on gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and so on needs to stop. I’m glad more organizations are raising awareness. 🙂

  2. Found you at SITS. It’s great that you are bringing awareness to this issue. Someone I know once stayed at such a shelter, and it was a kind refuge. Looking forward to exploring your blog more.

  3. Pingback: A Little Explanation | Bike, Banjo & Baby

  4. I am a social worker and unfortunately, I deal with the issue of domestic violence a lot. It happens everywhere and I feel so sorry for the mothers and children involved. It’s great that you are getting involved with this cause! Stopping in from SITS.

  5. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. It is extremely sad, and always shocking. Hearing that Oscar Pistorius’s partner (I should mention he’s only charged at this point) was working toward ending gender-based violence in South Africa before she was fatally shot is just…ugh. So terrible.

  6. What a great post, you are totally right, a lot of times we see things on the news and have a sense of, well that couldn’t possibly happen to me, mainly because we associate things like domestic violence with social/economic classes outside our own. It can and does span all social boundaries, and so should subsequent awareness. Anyways thanks for stopping by my blog to comment, it’s great to come across fellow Canadian Bloggers, will be following you for sure!

  7. I couldn’t agree with you more. Domestic violence can be found in any town, with people of any age, race, religion, ethnicity, background, financial situation and so on. It’s great that you’re volunteering at a women’s shelter. Although we’d rather not need to have these shelters in the first place, they’re needed so much, and it’s people like you who keep them up and running.

  8. I’m sorry it took me a few weeks to get back to you – I was overwhelmed with comments, but I am so glad that I came back and read this post. This is such an important topic and one that needs to be discussed way more openly. I am going to watch this film and reblog this post! Thanks for taking on such an important topic.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s