Speaking out about violence against women
By MARC LALONDE
Violence against women can and must be overcome if society is to have hope for the future, said the West Island co-ordinator of the Murdered and Missing Persons’ Families Association — a women who knows all too well the horrors conjugal violence can bring to a family.
Doreen Haddad Drummond, whose daughter Kelly-Anne was allegedly murdered by her live-in boyfriend Martin Morin-Cousineau in Oct. 2004, will be the keynote speaker at an International Women’s Day celebration to be held March 7 at John Abbott College in Ste. Anne de Bellevue.
“Every year we come up with a different theme for the celebration of International Women’s Day and this year it’s violence against women and what we can do to stop it,” said John Abbott College Women’s Studies and Gender Relations co-ordinator Vivianne Silver. “We’re trying to send a message of hope and we’re seeking to educate and sensitize the community to the damage conjugal violence can cause.”
Silver said there are no easy answers to predicting conjugal violence — “That’s a great question,” — but it starts with making men and women equal partners in relationships, she said. “We realize that nobody’s going anywhere without good men by our side, and my whole approach is not to disregard men, but rather to foster an approach to relationships where we really walk hand in hand.”
Doreen Haddad Drummond said her keynote address will focus on retaining hope and surviving, even in the face of horrific violence.
“Everyone gets through in a different way. I got through it knowing I had wonderful family and friends who were there for me and there’s been a lot of support. I have an incredible employer who is trying to understand what I’m going through and helps me to keep my mind occupied when I’m at work, but there’s always small things that happen and remind you, and all of a sudden I’ll be sitting there missing Kelly-Anne something terrible.
“Some women aren’t as lucky as I am and they can’t even get out of bed. However, I think Kelly-Anne’s legacy was to live, laugh and become adventurous. I have to believe that she didn’t die in vain and I have to believe I can help others with Kelly-Anne’s story. Conjugal violence is always something that stays silent, and since Kelly-Anne’s death, I’ve been able to reach three women who were in abusive relationships. Hopefully, someone else will be able to live because of Kelly-Anne’s death,” she said.
The International Women’s Day celebrations at John Abbott College, organized by the Women’s Studies and Gender Relations department will kick off March 7 at 2 p.m. in The Agora, located in the Casgrain building. The celebration will be led off by JAC grad and professional composer and singer Pamela Lamb and Drummond’s keynote address will follow. For more information, call 457-6610.