Toronto, 11 June 2019
A group called Strengthening Ties is working towards an impressive and important goal just in time for Father’s Day. Strengthening Ties is calling on men to honour the women and children that are important in their lives by pledging money to support Women’s Shelters Canada, a national organization working to end violence against women.
Strengthening Ties: Men Supporting Women’s Shelters is asking men across the country to help support the over 500 women’s shelters in Canada. So far, eighty men have signed on as founding donors of Strengthening Ties with contributions of $1,000 a year for three years. Many of these men have made these donations in honour of their mothers, sisters, wives, daughters and sons. Strengthening Ties has set a goal of signing on 100 men by Father’s Day, June 16.
As children, twins Terry and Jayme stayed at a shelter with their mother. Both now Toronto police officers, Terry and Jayme support a local women’s shelter. Terry recalls that as children he and his brothers would walk the streets at night with nowhere to go. “My brothers and I, just being young kids, had no idea of the dire situation we were in. Looking back now, it breaks my heart to think of my mother in this situation with three young children.”
According to Statistics Canada, 68,000 women and children stay in women’s shelters annually, and the need for help is growing. “The sad fact is that more women call shelter crisis lines every day but too often, women’s shelters are already full,” said Lise Martin, executive director of Women’s Shelters Canada. However, shelter workers do everything they can to help women in need, such as safety planning and counselling over the phone. As one worker said, “Listening remains the most important key for helping women to feel understood and believed. Despite everything, when these women have someone to accompany them in their journey it gives them a chance to move in a more positive direction because they feel supported.”
Funds raised through Strengthening Ties help to support:
- Sheltersafe.ca – a one-stop connection for women to find help in their community.
- Emergency shelters across Canada.
- A future where shelters are no longer needed ·
To become a donor of Strengthening Ties, or to learn more about the campaign, please visit: Strengthening Ties.
Read a testimonial from Founding Donor, Johnathan Nightingale, below.
For media enquiries, contact:
Kaitlin Bardswich, Communications and Development Coordinator
613.680.5119 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Women’s Shelters Canada brings together 14 provincial and territorial shelter organizations. We work as a unified voice to collaborate, educate, and innovate for systemic change that ends violence against women, making Canada a model for safety in the world.
Testimonial: Johnathan Nightingale, Founding Donor of Strengthening Ties
When you’re a dad of daughters, people expect that to be why you give. I get it. Dads don’t talk about it a lot, but the depth of the love we feel for our kids is so intense. And to see one of them hurt, a skinned knee or a bruised cheek, it causes this sharp physical pain in us. At least it does in me.
And so people figure, sure, he’s supporting women’s shelters because he has daughters. He can see them in that position. He would want to protect them.
If that’s what drives you to give, that’s so excellent of you. And thank you for stepping up. But it’s not really why I give.
Because the truth is, I can’t see it. I can’t imagine my daughters, grown, and running for their lives. I can’t picture them abused and fearful and trying to protect their own kids with nowhere to go. I can’t see my happy, safe, healthy daughters in that. When I try to, my brain sort of shuts it out.
Unless you have people in your life who have gone through it, I bet yours does, too. You tell yourself a story about how it wouldn’t happen to your daughter. How you would protect her, because that’s what loving dads do. I hope that’s true for her.
But it shouldn’t happen to anyone. Everyone deserves to be safe, and loved, and protected, but not everyone is. I can’t let my brain shut that out. I can’t treat this as someone else’s problem. I need to make this my problem, too.