Working Together to End Violence Against Women
by Nicolette Little, Professor of Communication & Literary Studies and 2013 & 2014 Hope in High Heels organizing committee member
Over the past three years, FHASS has actively worked to promote the safety and well-being of women. This year, with Sheridan’s recent support of Oakville’s Hope in High Heels walk and the upcoming 2014 Holiday Hamper Drive, FHASS has again showed its supportive stripes.
The Facts: Domestic Violence in Our Communities
In “Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends” (2013), Statistics Canada reports that, “[v]iolence against women in Canada is a serious, pervasive problem that crosses every social boundary and affects communities across the country.” Apparently, “[i]t remains a significant barrier to women’s equality and has devastating impacts on the lives of women, children, families and Canadian society as a whole” (p. 3; Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime, 2012).
Domestic abuse can involve emotional, physical, sexual, financial and verbal violence, threatening or coercion. One in four women reports an incident of domestic abuse in her lifetime, but as Statistics Canada (2011) notes, less than a quarter of spousal violence cases are brought to the authorities’ attention, with victims proving increasingly reticent to report occurrences in recent years. Unfortunately, then, the actual number of women who face violence is much, much higher than we imagine, and such violence has a massive and lasting impact on victims’ lives.
Holiday Hamper Drive 2014: November 24th—December 13th, 2014 – B219, C227, and STC A23
Since December 2011, FHASS has collected six to seven FULL laundry hampers PER YEAR of goodies for women who, with their children, must spend their holiday in a shelter. This year, The Basketeers group has approached FHASS to participate again, making reference to the amazing generosity our faculty has shown, and the great number of women (twenty-one, at over four different shelter locations) we’ve helped over the past three years.
This year, you will again see the Holiday Hampers set up at Davis (B219), Trafalgar (C227), and STC (TBA). As of November 24th, you will be able to bring in a new, unused item that can help a woman in need treat her dependants to a special holiday experience or surprise, prepare for re-entry into the workforce, or feel special in some way. Gift certificates (to purchase new professional wear, take her children to a movie, or get groceries, for example) are welcome, as are items like toiletries, warm winter or professional clothing items (new), or other things she might need as she sets up a new life and career.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Nicolette Little at nicolette.little[at]sheridancollege.ca. Please visit The Basketeers’ website at http://www.basketeers.ca/shoppingList.htm for helpful hints about what the shelters’ women need.
Also, Nicolette is looking for a helper to transport two hampers from Trafalgar to Davis for November 24th, and then back again at the end of term. If you have a car and are willing to help, please email her.
Hope in High Heels, 2014
For the past three years, the Hope in High Heels walk has taken place on Lakeshore Road, in downtown Oakville. This year, on September 28th, Oakville’s men literally walked a mile in a woman’s shoes to raise funds for Halton Women’s Place and spread awareness about violence against women. This year’s event raised over $90,000 for the shelter.
Halton Women’s Place provides shelter and beds for over 1,000 local women and their dependents each year, and provides them with ongoing counselling and legal support.
Sheridan College’s President and CEO, Dr. Jeff Zabudsky, has led “Team Sheridan” in the walk for the past two years. Looking spry in gigantic pink heels, he’s helped lead the way in the stand against domestic violence, both as a walker and as a keynote speaker at the annual event.
The Hope in High Heels organizing committee (Oakville) wants to thank Jeff and the Sheridan community for its support of Hope in High Heels and Halton Women’s Place. This year, it was great to see Sheridan staff and students cheering Sheridan’s Fearless Leader on, as well as lending a hand. A special thanks goes out to FHASS’s Jill Stewart, who not only volunteered with HWP the day of the event, but also helped cheer on the 120 walkers—one of whom was her husband!
At a time when news of on-campus assaults and harassment proliferate in the national media, outreach and involvement in such initiatives is imperative. Thanks for your ongoing support.