The Brockville Women's Memorial is being spearheaded by the local Assault Response and Care Centre (ARCC) and the Victim Services Committee of Leeds and Grenville.
Brockville City Council has approved the design and granted it public space. A local art teacher and students from the high school designed and will build the sculpture. It will be made of bronze mounted on a granite base and finished by October, 2010. Above is the original sketch by artist David Sheridan. It will be erected down by the Brockville waterfront. The organizers are planning an unveiling community celebration the beginning of November, date still to be determined.
Excerpt from The Recorder and Times
Women's Memorial Does Not Deny Other Victims of Violence Exist:
"...A memorial, and a reminder that the terrible tragedy of 1989 was just one of many tragedies that continue to happen, sometimes in Brockville.
City councillors on Tuesday approved the design of the women's memorial, which will be placed on the strip of land at the western end of Blockhouse Island.
The bronze statue will depict two women raising their arms over their heads to hold up a trio of doves taking flight. They will stand on a base of polished granite with an inscription.
Students at Thousand Islands Secondary School, where Sheridan teaches art, will take part in the work.
The memorial is being spearheaded by the local Assault Response and Care Centre (ARCC) and the Victim Services Committee of Leeds and Grenville. The project has drawn criticism from some quarters on council as discriminatory. Councillor Gord Beach, one of two members to vote against the motion, called the design "absolutely beautiful," but said the memorial discriminates by "only memorializing women's abuse," excluding abuse against children and men.
Councillors Henry Noble and Stu Williams similarly praised Sheridan's design, but also argued the theme should be broadened to include all victims of abuse, regardless of gender. (Williams cast the other "No" vote, while Noble supported the motion despite his objections.)
Deputy Police Chief Lee MacArthur, one of the memorial's backers, told council that, statistically, women are much more likely to be victims of violence, noting Brockville's last two murders fall into that category. "It is a systemic society issue," said the deputy chief.
It's the same point my onetime colleague was making more than 10 years ago when she spoke to that sad anniversary ceremony at Wall Street United Church. And sadly, one worries people will still be struggling to get that point across a decade from now.
Yes, men are also victims. The people behind the memorial know this well. Just go to ARCC's national website, click the "Just for men" link and you will find these words:
"As a society, we mistakenly hold the belief that males cannot be victimized. This simply is not true. Our idea of masculinity puts men into a 'tough guy' box, so that we cannot possibly believe that a 'real man' could be forced into a sexual act, that a 'real man' could be vulnerable, but the reality of sexual assault and abuse is that it is a crime of power."
However, there are many crimes of power, and some of them take on the aspect of crimes of hate. Such is the case when a woman is assaulted or killed because she is a woman. That is a twisted act that happens all too often, exactly because, as the deputy chief says, it is a systemic, societal ill.
We as a society need to acknowledge that this ill exists, which is why the Brockville women's memorial will join a list of more than 70 others across Canada.
To acknowledge one social ill is not to deny that others exist. Indeed, the problems are best addressed one by one, rather than being lumped into the kind of umbrella-solution approach that rarely yields effective results.
Violence against women is a particularly pernicious problem, which is why its victims need to be given their space, in which to raise their voice. And if we can truly listen, we'll find a way to address this problem -and start tackling the next one as well.
Reporter Ronald Zajac: http://www.recorder.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2536572