In the Wake of the Nova Scotia Murders
A Call to Address Violence Against Women and Girls - theHumm May 2020

In the Wake of the Nova Scotia Murders
A Call to Address Violence Against Women and Girls - theHumm May 2020

A number of Ontario anti-violence shelters and advocates are jointly calling on public officials to address violence against women and girls as the key inciting factor in the recent mass murders in Nova Scotia. The shelters, including Kingston Interval House, Lanark County Interval House and North York Women’s Shelter express deep condolences to all those affected. “We grieve this unimaginable tragedy alongside the entire country and know that healing will be long and painful.”

This weekend brought back stark memories of another Canadian mass murder. “Exactly two years ago, I was writing a heartbreakingly and terrifyingly similar press release for another anti-woman mass murder — the Toronto Van Attacks in North York — it makes me sick to have to draft one again,” says Mohini Datta-Ray, Executive Director of North York Women’s Shelter. In that mass murder, the attacker took inspiration from the notoriously and highly misogynist online “Incel” or “involuntarily celibate” culture. “We stand in solidarity with all of Nova Scotia and particularly those experiencing both this extreme expression and more ‘everyday’ gender-based violence. The pain is unimaginable.”

Calling the Nova Scotia murders “a horrifying tragedy”, Erin Lee, the Executive Director of Lanark County Interval House, says: “as leaders dealing in gender based violence, especially for us in rural and remote communities, we were sadly unsurprised that intimate partner violence against a woman turned out to be the catalyst for this rampage; we pretty much expected it”. There is strong evidence that the Nova Scotian attacker was motivated by his rage against his ex-girlfriend and her new partner.

“What happened on Monday seems beyond comprehension,” adds Pam Havery, Executive Director of Kingston Interval House, “but it follows a highly disturbing logic of mass murders, where domestic or family violence against women are shown to be at the root of almost all of them. We saw that to be true in Pulse Nightclub, Orlando, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, First Baptist Church, Toronto Van Attacks and Ecole Polytechnique. If we as a community are too afraid, unwilling or overwhelmed to expose, resist and address this for what it is, it only gets more oxygen to grow and thrive.”

As advocates and leaders who see the horrific impact of violence against women, girls and trans communities every single day call for change, they call on all three levels of government to take a gender lens in all of their budgets and policies. “We call for real, lasting investment in effective anti-gender-based violence education for men and boys. And we call for comprehensive, evidence-based programs that support the safety, wellbeing and empowerment of women, girls and trans communities. As this weekend’s heartbreaking events tell us, the urgency is incredibly high,” say the anti-violence experts.

According to long-term advocate and management consultant Beth Jordan of Adobe Consulting Services, “although moments of such terror can seem freak or fringe, they need to be understood as an extreme expression of a threatening, violent gender dynamic that is much more everyday than most of us like to admit. It’s moments like this that present us an opportunity to truly commit to care of one another; to support survivors of violence and their families and to invest in new ways of holistic care across the system that prevent the spread of hateful politics while empowering whole communities.”

Recent data has shown that, in Canada, every six days a woman is murdered as a result of gender-based violence. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic conditions have shown to increase rates of domestic violence against women and girls sharply worldwide. Women’s shelters say that they are “bracing themselves” for what is to come and need greater commitment and support to meet the increased needs of survivors particularly during this time. “Violence against women services are woefully inadequate in this country at the best of times,” says Datta-Ray. “With the added dynamic of lockdowns and social distancing, ability, race and class inequity, women are going to die at the hands of their families and intimate partners if all three levels of government don’t take serious action that puts survivors first”.

Submitted by Kingston Interval House, Lanark County Interval House, North York Women’s Shelter and Adobe Consulting Services

A Message from the Lanark County Interval House:

At this time of uncertainty, we continue to focus on our mandate to end violence against women and their children. We work in solidarity with you and our colleagues across the nation. Know we appreciate your support and donations especially at this most challenging time in our community and across the world. Violence doesn’t pause and risk for many has and continues to increase. Please be the disruption that a neighbour, friend or family member might need. See it, name it and then we can change it. Know our service and crisis line remain open 24/7. One of our dedicated staff are just a phone call away at 613–257–5960.

As we navigate how to stay safe and healthy during this uncertain time called COVID, the challenge of staying safe is even more so when living in a violent home. Women are faced with a potential increase in their violence during isolation due to stresses within the house caused by financial concerns, increased use of substances, children being at home and the uncertainty of what tomorrow will bring. We know that control plays a large role within violent relationships and when there is a perceived loss of control, an abuser will hold on tight to what they feel they do have control over; their partner and children. Seeking help and support becomes almost impossible as we are directed to stay in our homes. Sneaking out of the home to make a phone call may put a victim at higher risk.

Here are resources that are still available given the current COVID-19 restrictions:

Emergency Shelter Services

The crisis line remains open 24/7. We continue to offer support to women impacted by violence, whether they choose to leave or remain in the situation. With regards to admission, we need to speak to the woman, assess her situation as per our normal procedures, but have recently implemented an additional screening tool due to COVID. Priority of admission is always Lanark County women. Should a family need admission, a period of isolation may be required depending on their situation.

Community Support Services

Our community support team is reaching out to isolated clients to ensure safety planning, supplies and needs are responded to.

Counselling support will remain as scheduled, but we have implemented offsite tools to facilitate and maintain community-based supports to all clients. We keep connected to our local community resources to offer appropriate referral and support specific to the impacts of COVID (ie foodbank, financial support links etc)

What We Can Do

And here’s how we as a community can support those we believe to be in a dangerous/abusive situation:

We as a community need to be mindful of the increased risks faced by women and children living in violent homes. Continue to reach out being mindful of your own physical safety through social distancing. Make eye contact whenever possible and if this is someone you know, watch for noticable changes in her behaviour. If a victim of violence is confiding in you, it is important to offer her resources and options. The LCIHCS 24hr crisis line is a good place to start. Callers remain anonymous if that is what they want or need to stay safe. Helping her make a plan to stay as safe as possible is important and be ready to listen and believe her.

Stay well, stay safe and stay connected. If you would like to donate to Lanark County Interval House, please visit


The Return of the Victory Garden: an Interview with Ed Lawrence - theHumm May 2020

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Takeout, Take 1: Eataria Unlimited - theHumm May 2020

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In the Wake of the Nova Scotia Murders
A Call to Address Violence Against Women and Girls
- theHumm May 2020

A number of Ontario anti-violence shelters and advocates are jointly calling on public officials to address violence against women and girls as the key inciting factor in the recent mass murders in Nova Scotia. The shelters, including Kingston Interval House, Lanark County Interval House and North York Women’s Shelter express deep condolences to all those affected. “We grieve this unimaginable tragedy alongside the entire country and know that healing will be long and painful.”

This weekend br......


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- theHumm May 2020

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CFUW 2020 Education Awards
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- theHumm May 2020

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On This Month’s Cover - theHumm May 2020

A veritable garden of art!

(clockwise from top left)

Claire Jacobs,

Sally Hansen, ...more