Once again, a deliberate act of violence has horrified and angered. Has broken hearts. Avalon Sexual Assault Centre honours the memories and lives of the people murdered in Nova Scotia April 18 and 19:
Cst. Heidi Stevenson
Elizabeth Joanne Thomas
We extend our sympathy to their families. We acknowledge the survivors of this heinous act. We also acknowledge the efforts of first responders during this tragedy.
Understanding and support for survivors of violence and their families, for individuals and for communities, is crucial in the immediate and the long term. Trauma effects people differently and manifests in different ways. The growing understanding in society of the effects of and responses to trauma will underpin our healing.
Avalon Centre stands in solidarity with feminist and anti-violence organizations in recognizing this act as gender-based and misogynist. We add our voice to those calling for an investigation that includes exploration of the patterns of male violence that preceded this violent rampage. We believe that recognizing these patterns in society, and how they link to a variety of harms to all genders, is crucial to our ability to help prevent these harms.
The perpetrators of serial murder in Canada have shared traits – male, predominantly white, obsession with militaristic culture (military, police, guns), a history of family violence, perpetration of intimate partner violence, gender violence/violence against women, resentment/hatred of women, exerting dominance and control over others.
It continues to be a difficult and complex conversation to have, to acknowledge the systemic and societal factors that perpetuate behaviours and beliefs that lead some people to commit violence and others to deny or normalize these behaviours and beliefs.
It also continues to be a necessary conversation, however. In addition to its potential to impact behaviour and beliefs, it is a conversation that impacts decisions about funding, services, infrastructure, resources.
We are grateful at this time for those who are able to enter into this difficult conversation around prevention, and for those who are offering support and healing for the trauma in our communities.
Executive Director, Avalon Sexual Assault Centre