Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Press Clippings

In case you missed it, here is the text of a particularly good article that appeared in the Montreal Gazette.

The Gazette (Montreal)
December 4, 2004

By Jack Todd

"It's time athletes spoke out against 'domestic abuse'"

John Drummond remembers exactly where he was when he heard the news on Dec. 6, 1989.

"I was coming out of a Christmas party at the Old Munich.I got in the car and I turned the radio on to CJAD and heard what was happening and I thought: 'oh, my. What is this?' "

As the father of two young daughters, Drummond had reason to recoil in horror at the news of the massacre at the Ecole Polytechnique that claimed the lives of 14 young women. Any parent with daughters had to feel a jolt of fear after what happened at the Poly 15 years ago Monday.

Yesterday, he marked another sad anniversary. On Oct. 3, his daughter, Kelly-Anne Drummond, was attacked at the apartment she shared with her boyfriend, 30-year-old Martin Morin-Cousineau. When police and ambulance technicians arrived, they found that Drummond, an athlete who competed in rugby, water polo and lifesaving, was in cardiac arrest after being stabbed in the back. She died two days later; Cousineau was charged with second-degree murder in her death and faces a preliminary hearing Jan. 13.

For Drummond, his wife, Doreen, and his surviving daughter, Kim, this will be the grimmest of holidays, a series of dates on the calendar when the only thing they have to hold onto is the memories of a young woman who was everything parents could want a daughter to be and so much more than the athlete most people knew: a communications graduate of Concordia, a daycare teacher, a crafts-woman who was making three- dimensional gift cards to sell during the holidays."

She was every parent's dream," godmother Annabelle Barakett said in her eulogy. "And what happened to her is every parent's nightmare."

"She and her sister never caused us one moment of grief," Drummond said yesterday. "We brought them up to respect everyone, no matter what their race or faith."

Unfortunately, Kelly-Anne Drummond did not get that respect in return. After her death, the family found that she had taken 150 photos in Italy with a digital camera and found another five rolls of film - photos of Italy, of the lifesaving competitions in which she took part, of Kelly-Anne herself."

There are especially a lot of photos of Rome and the Vatican," Drummond said. "Someday I'd like to go back there, retrace her steps."

Obviously, the fact that his daughter was strong and athletic was no help at all. Now, Kelly-Anne Drummond the rugby player is another statistic.

According to StatsCan statistics for the year 2003, a brutal pattern of male violence against women remains essentially unchanged nearly 15 years after the Marc Lepine massacre:

- A total of 25 per cent of all violent crimes reported to police still involve family violence;- Spousal violence accounts for two-thirds of all family violence;

- Partners and ex-partners account for 47 per cent of all criminal harassment cases;

- In 59 per cent of all spousal homicide casees, police were aware of a history of domestic violence between the accused and the victim;

- In 85 per cent of all domestic violence cases, the woman is the victim.

Kathleen O'Grady, a research associate at Concordia's Simone de Beauvoir Institute who supplied those statistics, drew the right conclusions when she wrote: "It is time we called 'domestic abuse' what it is: violence and murder. ... Otherwise we can only surmise that women, when they are wives, don't matter, and that their occasional brutal deaths are an accepted risk of domestic living."

That a woman has to accept such risk in any relationship with a man, spousal or otherwise, is absurd. But punishment is not the only solution. As important as it is for judges such as Superior Court Justice Fraser Martin to send a clear and unmistakable message, it is equally important to find a way to defuse these situations long before a woman is murdered. It begins with education, with a willingness to talk about violence against women, with men speaking out.

Given the long and embarrassing history of athletes abusing women, it would be refreshing to see more athletes in the forefront of the effort to educate other males about our behaviour toward women. It is one thing for a committed feminist to condemn violence against women; it would be quite another for a star athlete to step up and say "this is wrong" or "no means no" or "never, under any circumstances, do you shoot, strike, stab, kick, or otherwise abuse a woman."

Instead we get O.J. Simpson, Tommy Kane and the horrifying case of former Carolina Panthers wide-receiver Rae Carruth, who hired a pair of hitmen to kill his girlfriend, who was eight months pregnant at the time.

Now a week that began with the anniversary of the killing of Tammy Shaikh by former football star Kane ends with the observation of still another appalling tragedy.

"It just keeps happening," Drummond said. "Another woman was killed the same day as Kelly-Anne. Altogether, four women were killed in a span of eight days."

Fifteen years after the massacre at the Poly, it's unacceptable that we have made no little progress. It you're a boy or a man, speak out. If you're having trouble controlling your rage, get help.

Because the day a woman takes a man into her life should not be the day when she meets the agent of her death.

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