TORONTO, Dec. 5, 2005 – During tomorrow’s ceremonies to mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, nurses across Ontario will remember women who have been victims of violence and abuse. This year’s ceremonies will have particular poignancy following last month’s murder of Windsor RN Lori Dupont.
“Lori’s death is a grisly reminder of the pervasive abuse and violence that women face in our society, inside and outside the workplace,” says Joan Lesmond president of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO). “As we remember her, and the countless other women who have been targets of violence and abuse simply because of their gender, we must also resolve to do whatever it takes to stop it from happening again.”
Every year, women and men pause on Dec. 6 to remember 14 young women killed in 1989 at Montreal’s l’Ecole Polytechnique, and to reflect on violence against women in our society. Nurses will attend vigils in Kitchener, Cornwall, Kingston, Brampton and Toronto. Lesmond will join RNAO Essex chapter members in a candlelight vigil at the King’s Navy Yard Waterfront Park, Dalhousie Street, in Amherstburg.
“Dupont’s murder has shocked nurses and shaken our profession to its core. It has brought us even closer to the dangers many women face every day,” says RNAO executive director Doris Grinspun, who will attend commemorations at Women’s College Hospital (76 Grenville St., Toronto) in the Cummings Auditorium tomorrow at noon, and an event at 6 p.m. at the University of Toronto’s Philosopher’s Walk near Bloor Street and Avenue Road. “Nurses do so much, and can do even more, in our daily practice to help keep women safe,” adds Grinspun.
In emergency rooms, primary health-care centres, long-term care facilities and shelters, nurses see first hand the physical, emotional and spiritual devastation abuse causes. Women who are being abused need someone to turn to, someone with the compassion, knowledge and skills to guide them towards places and people in the community who can keep them safe. Nurses are among those who can help. That’s why RNAO recently released the Woman Abuse: Screening, Identification and Initial Response best practice guideline to help nurses screen women who may be suffering from abuse. The guideline recommends routine screening for abuse in all women aged 12 and older.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario is the professional association representing registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.-30-