(Image courtesy of Abbotsford Police Department via Twitter)
This week the Abbotsford Police department released a series of Valentine’s Day cards addressing domestic and intimate partner violence. The cards come at a timely manner; with Valentine’s day fast approaching, Ontario COVID-19 lockdown orders in place, and many forced to remain in their homes.
At first glance, the cards appear as any other romantic card would; heart shaped visuals and a cheesy message included. Phrases such as ‘I love you so much it hurts’ and ‘You take my breath away’ dawn the front of the cards.
(Images courtesy of Abbotsford Police Department via Twitter)
After taking a closer look, the back of each Valentine card reads the following message, “Did you know that the Abbotsford Police Department responded to 1376 calls for service that were related to domestic violence. The sentiment on the front of this card is not a metaphor. Someone you may know experiences abuse at the hands of someone they love. It’s time to #SpeakOut. If you, or someone you know needs support or help, call 604-859-5225.”
Data released by Statistics Canada reveals a 12 percent increase in domestic disturbances reported to police agencies in the first months of the pandemic.
When asked about the cards via interview with The Indo Canadian Voice, Abbotsford Police spokesperson Sgt. Judy Bird stated, “As they circulate, we hope they start conversation across Abbotsford about an issue, intimate partner violence, that many find very uncomfortable to discuss.”
Additional data released by Statistics Canada revealed over half of victim services in Ontario reported increases in the number of domestic violence victims they serviced from March to July 2020. With matters of domestic and intimate partner violence in mind amidst provincial lockdown, many should be aware of the available resources within Toronto for those in need of help.
Below is an interactive map that highlights various shelter locations across Toronto, providing refuge and support to those who may be experiencing domestic or intimate partner violence.
Women’s Habitat is a refuge for women with or without children, who are at risk or experiencing any form of abuse. At Women’s habitat everyone has their own bed but share common spaces such as; dining room, living room, kitchen, kids’ play room, etc… The 25 bed shelter additionally provides ranging support services including housing, legal, child care, and counselling. Free meals are provided, as well as recreational activities and outings for children of all ages. Get in touch: 416-252-1785 (or call crisis line: 416-252-5829).
Nellie’s Administration is a 36-bed shelter for women and children escaping domestic violence, struggling with poverty or homelessness. Nellie’s also offers one-one-one counselling, recreational activities and educational programs on topics such as parenting, health and employment. Those staying at the shelter share household responsibilities including cleaning and cooking. Get in touch: 416-461-1084
Red Door Family Shelter
Red Door Shelters have two locations; one for families and one for women fleeing violence. Both locations have 161 beds provide critical support services. Those visiting Red Door Shelter may be experiencing domestic violence, homelessness or poverty. Each individual circumstance is dependent on the length of stay at the shelter; some may stay for one night and others up to six months. Get in touch: Call 416-397-5637 to be referred through Central Family Intake (Family shelter). Or call the crisis line at 416-423-0310 (Vaw Shelters).
Street haven provides emergency shelter and integrated services for women experiencing, or at risk of homelessness. The 50 bed shelter provides women with a safe space to sleep, meals provided, clothing and medical support. Due to COVID-19, the shelter is open with some restriction and a limited number of supportive housing services are currently available. Get in touch: 416-967-6060 ext. 224 or a toll-free number at 1-844-967-6060.
Fred Victor’s Women’s Hostel
Fred Victor’s Women’s Hostel provides shelter for women, men and families living in extreme poverty, homeless or marginally housed. Get in touch: (416) 368-2642).
Robertson House is a 37 room shelter for pregnant women and women with children. Each family is given their own room with sleeping accommodations and shared communal areas, such as bathrooms, living rooms and a kitchen. Get in touch: 416-392-5662).
The Redwood Shelter
Redwood shelter is a safe space for women fleeing abusive homes. Women with and without children are given beds, meals and hygienic necessities. Redwood also offers counselling to cater to individual needs, provide referrals and accompany clients to meetings regarding child care, legalities, etc… Get in touch: 416-533-8538.
While Sistering technically is not a shelter, they provide a multitude of services for socially isolated or homeless women. Women visiting Sistering may have a disability, experienced trauma, mental health struggles, or are refugees or immigrants. The Bloor West Sistering location is open 24/7, offering meals, clothing and shower facilities. Sistering also provides support groups, counselling and professional healthcare access. The Parkdale Sistering location is open Monday to Friday and specifically for senior and marginalized women. This location also offers individual case support, meals, workshops and violence against women programs. Get in touch: 416-926-9762 (962 Bloor St. W) 416-588-3939 (220 Cowan Ave).
Fake hair, real problems
Will the Upcoming Disney+ Shows Fill in MCU Gaps?
The release of the Disney+ show WandaVision marks the beginning of Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) after Spider-Man: Far from Home concluded Phase Three of the MCU in 2019.
This release makes WandaVision the first time in the MCU history that a film or TV show with a female titular character has lead the opening of an MCU phase, with previous openers being Iron Man, Iron Man 3, and Captain America: Civil War. According to Pop Matters, the first installment has often set the tone for each of the phases in the MCU.
Persistent in the MCU is the issue of representation of women. The first MCU movie to have a woman as the titular character was Captain Marvel in 2019 – over ten years after Iron Man first came out in 2008.
A breakdown of the number of MCU movies by gender, from 2008 to 2019. Data from Marvel Studios. (Emma Moore/RSJ).
For over ten years, Marvel Studios has been releasing films into their box-office record breaking cinematic universe, and in December at Disney’s 2020 Investor Day multiple announcements were released regarding the line up of Marvel Disney+ shows. Prior to the announcement of the Disney+ series, an assortment of shows starring Marvel characters have aired across a variety of platforms and platforms, such as Netflix’s series following the Marvel street-level heroes.
Whereas Marvel has struggled with featuring female titular characters in their movies, their TV shows tend to follow ensemble casts with both male and female leads, such as ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Notably, some of Marvel’s first forays in TV shows were Agent Carter and Jessica Jones – both of which are female-lead shows.
A breakdown of the number of Marvel live-action TV shows by gender that were on air from 2013 to 2020.Data from Marvel Studios. (Emma Moore/RSJ).
Although the MCU’s Phase Four was originally supposed to open with the “long overdue” Black Widow film, the release was postponed to May 7, 2021 due to the pandemic. Four of the seven upcoming Disney+ announced at Disney’s 2020 Investor Day have female leads as the titular characters, including WandaVision, Ms Marvel, Hawkeye, and She Hulk.
Veganuary 2021 hits record-breaking sign-ups
As the month of January comes to an end, it also marks the end of Veganuary for some, or the beginning of a new lifestyle for others. The 2021 Veganuary campaign received an increasing amount of support, with an all-time high of 500,000 participants who pledged to be vegan.
Veganuary is a non-profit organization that encourages people worldwide to try a vegan lifestyle for the month of January and beyond, if possible. According to the Veganuary website, sign-ups have increased by 300 per cent in three years, and the program has attracted an increasing amount of national media coverage.
Matthew Glover and Jane Land launched Veganuary as an online vegan campaign in 2014. According to their website their goal is to, “inspire and support people to try vegan, drive corporate change, and create a global mass movement championing compassionate food choices with the aim of ending animal farming, protecting the planet, and improving human health.”
They have worked with numerous businesses and media outlets to help market the campaign and make veganism more visible and accessible. As a result, this has promoted and expanded the vegan food supply in grocery stores and restaurants.
“Retailers reported a huge demand for plant-based foods amid record Veganuary,” The Guardian reported.
In recent years Veganuary has gained a lot of popularity and attention, as more people are becoming interested in veganism for a number of reasons.
A food centric media outlet called Chef’s Pencil analyzed the popularity of vegan search items around the world using data from Google Trends and found that, “the popularity of veganism is at an all-time high, surpassing the prior all-time high in 2019… veganism is now twice as popular as it was just five years ago,” the report states.
Thanks to the Veganuary campaign more than one million people in 192 countries pledged to try veganism since 2014, and 72 per cent plan to remain vegan once the month is over.
-Data for graphs curtsey of Veganuary.com
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