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Domestic violence absent from election discussions

The Issue: 
Domestic violence

Candidates for the Deh Cho and Nahendeh ridings have circled the spectrum on social issues they feel should be addressed in the next legislative assembly.

Housing, youth and health care have all appeared regularly in campaign messaging; however, the discourse around one of the territory's largest social issues is seriously lacking.

Domestic violence is difficult to address because it so often happens behind closed doors. It happens to families you would never expect. It happens to the poor, rich and middle class.

It happens to same-sex couples and it happens to men.

The failure of candidates to raise their voices about domestic violence reflects the failure of the GWNT to fully address these problems and find effective solutions.

Admittedly, Deh Cho Drum pandered to this silence with a recent profile of Deh Cho incumbent Michael Nadli. The profile failed to address Nadli's recent conviction for assault causing bodily harm -- an omission which slipped past many eyes on the way to print.

Those of us who fail to speak up about domestic violence enable the abuse to continue.

Omissions by media contribute to this as much as anything else.

Deh Cho Drum has taken steps to rectify this by reaching out to Nadli about his conviction. Residents in the Deh Cho need to know why he believes he can still be a good leader despite his recent crime.

Often, we hear advocacy organizations refer to “breaking the silence” surrounding domestic abuse. The silence they refer to is a personal one, individualized for every victim. The silence is disenfranchisement, fear and hopelessness.

The silence needs to be broken every time someone falls victim to domestic violence. It must be broken over and over again if our society ever hopes to address this issue.

In the final days of the territorial election campaign, candidates should focus their time and effort on engaging with community members about domestic violence.

Perhaps it will give them perspective into how rampant an issue it is and how many lives it has scarred.

It may also give them a way forward, if elected, to bring potential solutions to the forefront of the next legislative assembly.

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