Ending violence common theme

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Last week’s commemoration of the murder of Theresa Vince and the staging of the seventh annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event demonstrate how far we’ve come as a society and how far we still have to go.
Last week’s commemoration of the murder of Theresa Vince and the staging of the seventh annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event demonstrate how far we’ve come as a society and how far we still have to go.

It was 20 years ago this month that Vince was a victim in a murder-suicide by her work supervisor who had been sexually harassing her.

Her death shocked not only this community, but also the province.

It helped provide the impetus to treat workplace harassment as an issue in the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Unfortunately, it took the deaths of other women including Windsor nurse Lori Dupont, killed by a doctor and Brenda Healey of Newmarket before sexual harassment became recognized as a workplace danger earlier this year.

To those on the front lines including the staff at the Chatham-Kent Sexual Assault Crisis Centre, the incremental victories may seem like water dripping on a rock but over time, those droplets will wear a hole in the stone and eventually through it.

It has been a slow and laborious process, but it’s well worth the effort.

For 30 years now, the Chatham-Kent Women’s Centre has been a beacon to those who attempt to leave abusive relationships.

When it was founded, with the help of the Ursuline Sisters of Chatham, domestic violence was something not spoken about.

Police were often reluctant to become involved and victims were either blamed or told that it was part of a normal relationship.

Slowly, the stigma of abuse shifted from the person being abused to the individual actually doing the abuse.

Western society is finally coming to grips with the fact that it is infinitely more fair, right, just and human to deal in an open manner with problems than it is to hide them.

It is unfortunate and uncomfortable to come face to face with such tragedies but it is unconscionable to ignore them.

The best way to help prevent harassment and abuse is to confront it.

We applaud those who do.

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