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Why Would We Do This?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 10:07 AM

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking to a room full of big-hearted golfers at our annual One Spark golf tournament.  The message I most wanted to convey is why the issue of violence against women - and working to end it -  is so important.  The reasons translate into why my sister and I will run 42.2 km in one week's time to raise money to fund women entrepreneurs that are trying to move forward from violence.  I wanted to share a few of those reasons in the hope that it might inspire people to donate to our marathon quest.  This is some of what has inspired this mission:

  • It was sitting with a dear friend that was like a brother to me in despair at his mom’s apartment a few days after she died.  As I listened to him recount her life, I noticed that he was telling it in chapters of the violence she experienced, and I came to the devastating realization that her story of abuse was also his story of abuse, and that she died never really having escaped it.
  • It was August 8 and May 16: two days when my life changed forever with the birth of my daughters and, as a mom, I started to constantly think about the “what ifs”.
  • It was 6 months working with child protection workers at the Children’s Aid Society as we compiled indisputable statistical evidence telling us that in a home where mom is abused, the children are likely abused and vice versa.
  • In the course of that same research, it was reading the Ontario Coroner’s Inquest into the death of Gillian Hadley whose final act as a mom was to struggle to get her front door open long enough to get her 1-year old child outside and into a neighbour’s arms before she was killed, and knowing that not being able to afford alternative housing was one of the reasons she was still in her family home that day.  
  • It’s the fact that Ontario now has Jared’s law because another little 8 year old boy in Brantford didn’t make it out the front door when he was caught in the crossfire of domestic violence.
  • It was sitting around a table with a group of violence survivors and listening to them agree that the scariest day of their life was not the day they went into a shelter, but the day they left its security and protection.
  • It’s been listening to the news over the past 18 months and thinking about how many women don’t get daily coverage of the fear they are living with, or the survival strategies they are putting in place every day.
  • And now it’s the amazing, courageous, strong, resilient women we work with at One Spark that say all they want is to live free of the fear, shame, guilt, and denigration that they’ve experienced and that they know, given this chance to generate income and stand on their own, that they will finally come to see that they have much to bring to the table and are so much more than their violent experiences. 
There are so many other reasons, including the 24 women and children we lost in Ontario to gender-based violence in 2014, and the 599 we have lost since 1990.  It also includes the more than 1,000 indigenous women in Canada that have been missing or murdered since 1980.  I would add that it is also the silence that surrounds so much of the violence.  Violence against women is an issue so often wrapped in a deafening silence.

Please help One Spark continue to do critical work that breaks down financial barriers to women living lives free of violence.  Please donate to our 2 For 2 Marathon at:

If you need more reasons, please take a minute to watch our golf tournament video.  Thanks for being part of our journey.