I have just returned from the International Women’s Day (March 8) breakfast hosted by the Zonta Club of Stratford where the focus of the meeting was on gender-based violence ... violence against women.
From OPP officer Connie Buckmuller we heard of a new initiative called the Sunshine Room. This is a room at Stratford General Hospital where victims of violence can be interviewed and supported in a less harsh environment than in an interrogation room at the police station.
This is a wonderful effort to create a more supportive environment for a traumatized woman.
What was not wonderful was to hear was that the women have to be driven to a hospital in Kitchener to have a rape kit done when a rape has occurred. The question every person in Stratford and Perth County should be asking is, why?
In a city that is so progressive and innovative in so many other areas, why does Stratford General Hospital not allow for rape kits to be done? Is this a political issue? Is it a financial constraint? Is lack of personnel? Is it lack of will?
I believe the citizens, particularly victims of violence and those who try to assist them regain their life, have a right to an answer.
Around the world women are routinely beaten, raped, mutilated and bought and sold like chattel. This country, our country, has two women killed every week by their intimate partners. This is not a private matter. This is an injustice. It is a crime and it behooves us all to be informed and proactive to ensure that we have the best services available to help these women and girls.
To make a traumatized raped girl or women have to go out her own city or county to have evidence collected for the judicial process shows an indifference that is hard to swallow.
Change her world