Sherbrooke Record

Unlocking conversati­ons surroundin­g gender-based violence


Each year the Lennoxvill­e and District Women’s Centre takes part in the 12 DAYS OF ACTION TO END GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE. Between Nov. 25 and Dec. 6, The Record will be publishing an article in each issue to raise awareness and shine a light on this critical social problem.

The UN defines gender- based violence as “harmful acts directed at an individual based on their gender. It is rooted in gender inequality, the abuse of power and harmful norms.” This can take many forms, whether it be cyber, physical, sexual, societal, spiritual, psychologi­cal, emotional, or financial violence. Over the COVID-19 pandemic this issue has worsened, now known as “the shadow pandemic.” People, namely women and non-binary folk, were confined to their homes with the risk of being trapped with their abuser. Additional­ly, shelters and related services were severely limited by public health regulation­s preventing people from seeking help.

This issue affects us all. In Canada, 44% of women report experienci­ng intimate partner violence throughout their lives, and this increases to 61% if you are an indigenous woman or girl and 67% if you are part of the LGBTQ2SA+ community. In Quebec,

from 2019 to 2020 femicides increased by 76.9% despite a notable decrease in police reports. Although statistics are shocking, the stories of survivors are often what holds the most power:

It was a very hot day when I decided to leave. I sneakily went around back and jumped a fence. I had no money, no bag, no idea where I would go. I started walking down the road…

Now I don’t know the Bible very well but, the story of Lot came into my mind. Lot and his family were fleeing their home, G-D said to them, “DO NOT LOOK BACK!”

Well, Lot’s wife, (who interestin­gly is not given a name in the Bible), she can’t resist, she looks back, she turns into a pillar of salt!

I told myself, “don’t look back!” I did. My heart broke, I was sick to my stomach, I was walking away from my home, my garden, my dog, my man…

I hitch-hiked (hadn’t done that since the 70s). I was picked up by a Krishna Family. The entire inside of the car was collages with colourful drawings and paintings of Krishna. I sat in back with an adorable curly haired three-year-old girl. She turned to me and said, “You could be a Diety!”

I thought, “what a thing to say!” As I write this, many years later, I realize she was right! We are all goddesses of our own realm.

What an interestin­g beginning as I flee from disaster.! Out of the mouths of babies.

Afterwards, wandering aimlessly, I decided to call the Women’s Shelter. I had no idea if what I would find there. What I found was a caring Woman who had experience­d what I had. A shower, clean clothes, and a clean bedroom. There were many women and children there. Women from ALL walks of life. We cooked and cleaned together, watched TV together, shared our stories and sometimes laughed and cried together.

It was the most normal and safe I had felt in years.

I didn’t know where I was going, I ended up in a good place and I wasn’t alone.

If you or anyone you know is encounteri­ng any form of gender-based violence, many resources within our community to support and protect



A feminist organizati­on that helping women and adolescent girls over 12 who have been victims of sexual assault.

1 877 563-0793 (available 24/7) http://www.calacsestr­ie. com/?lang=en

- L’escale -

A women’s shelter offering housing and help to women and children victim to domestic violence.

819 569-3611 (available 24/7) https://www.escaleestr­

- Lennoxvill­e and District Women’s

Centre (LDWC) -

A community organizati­on that empowers and connects English-speaking women and their families in the Estrie region through education, support and advocacy. 819-564-6626

- SOS Violence Conjugale -

A non-profit organizati­on whose mission is to help ensure the safety of victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) and that of their children throughout Quebec, by offering free, bilingual, anonymous and confidenti­al referral services.

1 800 363-9010 (available 24/7)

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