Detective Sergeant Liz Benoit of Forensic Identification Services spent five years as a Domestic Violence Coordinator at 13 Division.
Despite her training, nothing could have prepared the veteran officer for the murder of a close friend five years ago. She was the victim of a murder/suicide.
“There were no mental-health issues here,” Benoit said, at this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women’s event at 11 Division. “This was just another couple going through an acrimonious and difficult divorce.”
The parents left behind three boys.
“The first call that I got was from the principal of the boys’ school,” related Benoit, who joined the Service 30 years ago. “She couldn’t get hold of Catherine, so she called me. I couldn’t get hold of her either, so I called a friend who went to her home. Sadly, it was too late and they were both gone. No one is ever prepared for that devastation. It affects all of us. None of us is immune to the issue of violence against women. It is not only women who are victimized, but also their children and families.”
Grades seven and eight students from Carleton Village Junior & Senior Sports and Wellness Academy joined Toronto Police Superintendent Heinz Kuck and local politicians to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Beginning on that day, and concluding on December 10 which is Human Rights Day, 16 days of activism against gender-based violence are observed to end violence against women and girls around the globe.
“As a girl, I believe people should respect women’s rights,” said grade seven student Naomi Musa. “I absolutely wouldn’t like to see someone threatening or abusing a woman. It’s just so sad to see some women don’t get treated the way they really should be.”
Lorelei Ecclestone, the Academy’s principal, said everyone has a responsibility to ensure women aren’t abused.
“It’s time we say ‘no more’ and end violence against women,” she said.
Davenport Member of Parliament Julie Dzerowicz said gender equity is among the federal government’s priorities.
“We believe that everyone should be treated equally in Canada,” she said. “We can’t achieve our true potential if that’s not done.”
Students and officers tied orange balloons and streamers to trees on Osler St. on the east side of 11 Division station, where they will remain until December 10.
Kuck said peaceful activism is critical to let people know that violence against women and girls is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
Participants at the celebration used chalk to write messages of goodwill and hope on the Osler St. sidewalk.
Deputy Mayor Ana Bailao, the Davenport councillor, also attended the event.