Healing Gaia

Woman Abuse Prevention Month and the Good Men in My Life

Thank you to all of the wonderful men in my life who are taking a stand to eradicate violence against women and girls.

By Doreen Nicoll
Published December 02, 2016

Woman Abuse Prevention Month in Ontario has just ended, and we're in the middle of the United Nations 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to say thank you to all of the wonderful men in my life who are taking a stand to eradicate violence against women and girls.

Ryan McGreal, editor of Raise the Hammer, took a chance on me as a writer when he introduced a genre that had not been a mainstream issue his online paper addressed. Ryan encouraged my outspokenness when it came to women's issues and was always ready to publish my musings.

This fall, RTH received several nominations for the Hamilton Independent Media Awards, more affectionately known as The Maggies in loving memory of independent journalist Maggie Hughes.

RTH was nominated in the category of Best Independent Media Outlet. Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko and Ryan were both nominated for Best Journalist - Environment for RTH articles. And I was honoured to receive an award in the category of Best Journalist - Social Justice and Human Rights!

I'd also like to thank Michael Stewart, my editor at rabble.ca. Michael has reigned me in on occasion, but has generally given me free reign over controversial issues.

Then, there is my editor from Leaders and Legacies, Roderick Benns, who regularly publishes my articles on guaranteed income, Indigenous women's issues and women's rights.

Most recently I've added Brandon Braithwaite, the editor in chief of The Anvil, to my list. The Anvil is a quarterly paper out of Hamilton that in its inaugural year addressed gentrification, food security, the arts, and gendered violence in the most recent paper called, It's Not Just A Women's Issue.

Select articles from past issues of the paper can be found on its website.

I owe huge thank you to Brandon and the team at The Anvil for allowing me to be guest editor for the 31-page paper dedicated to Woman Abuse Prevention Month and for publishing the voices of survivors and advocates who are working to eradicate gendered violence in Hamilton, the GTA, Canada and the world. Being guest editor and working with such a dedicated team of volunteers was a fantastic experience!

Lee McIlmoyle, thank you for your artwork that adorned the front cover of It's Not Just A Women's Issue. Nick Prytie, Lee and Brandon thank you for the time spent editing articles, laying out design, and coming up with a creative title.

Let me just segue to the fact that The Anvil released its first hard copy paper in December 2015 and was nominated for a Hamilton Independent Media Award in the fall of 2016. The Anvil placed second in the category of Best Independent Media Outlet. Kudos to The Anvil and its entirely volunteer staff.

Professor Rama Singh devotes much of his personal time to extensive, and exhaustive, work in the area of violence against women in both Hamilton and India. Rama is a very good feminist friend who believes that; "You cannot call a country free unless women are free to move without fear. We have a long way to go, and it is a long and slow march."

Surgeon Mohit Bhandari, a Professor of Surgery and Canada Research Chair, is trying to make a difference among Canadian surgeons. Just over a decade ago, Dr. Bhandari connected with a local advocacy Agency, the Minneapolis Domestic Abuse Project, to discuss the frequency of broken bones among the hundreds of women seeking the agency's assistance each year.

Dr. Bhandari has since reviewed the injuries of 260 women seeking care for intimate partner violence at the Minneapolis DAP. The research found that musculoskeletal injuries are the second most common physical manifestation of intimate partner violence.

This information will now be used to better inform orthopaedic surgeons and trainees about intimate partner violence and create fracture clinics that are better equipped to help women living with abuse.

A new acquaintance of mine, Stephen Paquette, is a member of the Bear Clan which means he bears the responsibility to resolve conflict within the community. To this end, Stephen is meeting with non-Indigenous groups to bridge our understanding of the Aboriginal experience since first contact.

Stephen is generous with his time and patient beyond belief. He has great respect for Aboriginal women and girls and it shows. Stephen explained that women are the givers of life and a child's first teacher. That teaching begins in the womb with lessons of love.

It's important for all men to hear Stephen's words and to take them to heart, because by respecting women's rights we can end all forms of gendered violence including societal violence.

Hugh Segal and Dr. Andrew Pinto have been vocal advocates for a Guaranteed Income which would profoundly benefit women and their children fleeing and healing from abuse.

Stephen Lewis, thank you for the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign. GRAN is a dynamic movement of thousands of grandmothers and grandothers, belonging to 240 grandmothers groups across Canada and beyond!

Launched in 2006, the Campaign was a Canadian grassroots response to the emerging crisis faced by African grandmothers as they struggled to care for millions of children orphaned by AIDS.

At the first international Grandmothers Gathering held in Toronto, Canada in 2006, grandmothers in Canada made a commitment to African grandmothers and to the world: we will not rest until they can rest.

One of the most active chapters is the Golden Horse GRAN. The members are continuously busy organizing events and supporting campaigns to end gendered violence.

David Suzuki has been instrumental in raising awareness about the importance of a healthy environment. Too often, those living with environmental racism are our most marginalized citizens. Suzuki has worked tirelessly to create a better world for everyone, but today I'd like to highlight his support of The Moose Hide Campaign.

Created by Raven Lacerte and her father, Paul, this pair have distributed more than 250 moose hide pins for men across Canada to wear as a show of commitment to be accountable for their behaviour and to reject violence.

I'd like to wrap things up a little closer to home. I'd like to thank my son, Nolan Killin. Nolan has sat side by side with me while I have reviewed countless films dealing with violence against women and girls, as well as, feminist and social justice issues. Together we have watched, Banaz: A Love Story; The War At Home; The Apology; The Witness - A Documentary About Kitty Genovese; We Can't Make the Same Mistake Twice; The River; Difret, and The Theatre of Life.

Nolan's insight into these important issues gives me reason to hope that this next generation of men will not only believe wholeheartedly that women's rights are human rights, but that they will speak up and act whenever they witness, hear, or read violence targeted at women and girls.

To paraphrase my friend Rama, we do have a long way to go, and it is a long and slow march, but with the help of these men, and all of the men that their messages touch, I know we can make a difference.

Thank you for standing in solidarity with me and my sisters.

Doreen Nicoll is a feminist and a member of several community organizations working diligently to end poverty, hunger and gendered violence.


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