A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Opposing Violence Against Women

Posted on: September 25, 2015

It was my son who first told me about the shootings in the Ottawa Valley on Tuesday. He saw a news blurb on his cell phone that said police were looking for the shooter.

By the time I went online, the alleged shooter was in custody. He now stands charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of three women he knew: Carol Culleton, Anastasia Kuzyk and Nathalie Warmerdam.

I had a hard time sitting down to write this post, thinking of the lives lost, the grief of the victims’ families and friends, the shock to the family of the accused man, the fear and anger I feel when I hear about this and other cases of violence against women.

Back in February, Pope Francis spoke at a meeting on women’s issues hosted by the Vatican’s Council for Culture and said, “Although it is a symbol of life, the female body is unfortunately not rarely attacked and disfigured, even by those who should be its protector and life companion.”

Just searching quickly on the Internet, I found information about Interval House, Chrysalis House, Harmony House, Nelson House, Oshki Kizis Lodge, La Présence, Maison d’amitié, and more in Ottawa and environs. I’m glad to know these and other resources are available in our region but sorry that the need is so great—and I worry about women in rural areas, where help can be harder to access.

How can we, as people of faith, channel our response to crimes involving violence against women?

  • Teach our children by our example and our words that violence against women is unacceptable. Educate ourselves and our young people about the warning signs of unhealthy relationships so that we avoid them, seek help to get out of these relationships if we need it, and reach out to others who need a way out.
  • Invite speakers from local crisis centres and women’s shelters to talk to our Catholic Women’s League or Knights of Columbus group about the programs and services they offer and ways we can help.
  • With our parish ministry group, prepare shoeboxes for shelters for donation to The Shoebox Project. Or find out what shelters need—gift cards, toiletries, clothing, and more—by checking their wish lists online and collecting donations.
  • Post a safety flyer in the women’s washrooms in our parish hall, letting women know where they can find help in their local community. “Women Healing the Wounds,” a document produced by the National Council of Catholic Women, offers an example of this type of flyer.

I pray that we would take action within our parish and the wider community to oppose violence against women.

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1 Response to "Opposing Violence Against Women"

[…] of Good Hope, our parish or community food bank, or women’s shelters such as those mentioned in my post on September 25th. Maybe it means finding out how to help refugees through such organizations as Refugee 613 or […]

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