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National Aboriginal Day - The Cultural Significance of Indigenous Art

Mike Cywink standing next to his artMy spirit name is Nimke Giizis, which translates to Thunder Day, while my English name is Mike Cywink. I am an Anishnaabe artist originally from Whitefish River First Nation near Manitoulin Island. I am currently a full time employee at the Centre for School Mental Health at the University of Western Ontario. As well as being a full time employee at UWO, I am also a part time student working towards a major in First Nation studies and a minor in Art. I feel pretty fortunate in my role as a Student Mentor at UWO in that I get to work with so many great First Nation students who have such a thirst to learn more about their culture and use that culture in their everyday lives.

Starting the Conversation... Domestic Violence in Later Life

Elderly woman writing on note padDomestic violence does not just affect younger people. It affects all cultures, religions, races, sexual orientations and every age, including older adults.

Often we don’t think that someone, especially a family member, would violently assault or harm an aging parent or loved one. Unfortunately, the abuse of older adults continues and is often at the hands of a spouse or family member, leaving the person to live in fear, silently suffering behind closed doors.

The 5 Ways Dads Can Teach Sons AND Daughters About Healthy Relationships

Father and son

There’s a lot of talk about father-daughter relationships. How a father can teach his daughter about love, about what a good partner looks like, about how to respect herself. These are all very important, of course. But, what about father-son relationships? Isn’t it just as important for a father to teach his son about love and what a respectful relationship looks like? Of course it is! With Father’s Day right around the corner, we want to share lessons on how dads can teach their children (sons AND daughters) all about healthy relationships. Whether you have a daughter or a son, the cornerstones of love and respect look the same.

Steps to Justice: Empowering people to understand and take action to deal with their legal problems

Legal professionals working with text: almost 50 percent of Canadians over the age of 18 will  experience at least one civil or family law problem in  a three year period that they consider seriousAre you experiencing partner abuse or know someone who is? Are you worried that you are being treated unfairly at work? Are you getting separated or divorced?  These are some of the issues that people in Ontario face every day.

Recent studies have shown that almost 50 percent of Canadians over the age of 18 will experience at least one civil or family law problem in a three year period that they consider serious. And public awareness of the law is very low – many don’t understand that certain problems have a legal component, but view them as simply bad luck or bureaucratic problems.

Pregnancy Drastically Increases Domestic Violence Risk

teddy bear with text "Pregnancy puts women at an increased risk of experiencing violence from an intimate partner"Pregnancy should be a time when a woman receives extra care and attention. While some women feel great throughout their pregnancy, others face health complications. Whatever the pregnancy experience, growing a baby is hard work and this is a time when women needs all the support they can get. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Many women not only lack support, but are also dealing with abusive relationships while they are pregnant. Although it’s hard for some of us to imagine, pregnancy puts women at an increased risk of experiencing violence from an intimate partner. If she is already experiencing abuse, this domestic violence often intensifies when a woman is pregnant.

Celebrating Mother’s Day

Multigenerational familyMother’s Day. It’s a day when we celebrate all the moms and women of influence in our lives. This could be a mom of any type: a biological, adopted, foster or step-mom. It could also be a grandmother, an aunt, an older sister, or another close relative. It might even be your neighbour, a co-worker, a teacher or a close friend. It’s a chance to celebrate anyone who is a mother figure or has had a strong impact on your life!

5 Easy and Fun Ways to Celebrate World Laughter Day

family laughing and smiling together

World Laughter Day falls on May 7th this year. It’s a great day to plan to spend some down time with your family or friends and do nothing but...laugh! Whether you’re spending it with your siblings, your children, your spouse or even a group of friends, it’s a great opportunity to take the day to bond and create even more happy memories.

Voices of Survivors: Part 3 Houda's Story

Dichotomy has always been a notion that has fascinated me. Two things in front of you that are cast apart as being so different. I lived in a dichotomy. I had my mother, who was the epitome of grace. She was kind and angelic in nature. She had compassion that ultimately cost her life. I had a father that, for all intent and purposes, can be described as the face of evil.

I was taught at a young age that forgiveness was a good thing. In fact, a great thing. Forgiveness helps us let go of anger. It helps us move on from situations and experiences that can bring us immense pain, confusion and sadness.

Voices of Survivors: Part 2 Ahlam's Story

What If? Why We Need to Change the System

"Domestic Violence." Such a simple term. Other words that followed that term for me include "murder," "trial," grief," post-traumatic stress syndrome," "depression," "stress related chronic illnesses," and more. The list just keeps getting longer and longer.

Almost five years ago, my mother was murdered in cold blood by my father. After a marriage of 29 years and three daughters. I am the eldest of the 3. My name is Ahlam. Domestic violence, specifically un-recognized domestic violence, cost me my mother, my children’s grandmother, and my best friend. It wasn’t recognized as violence by anyone around us, to the point where it even took us so long to see and admit that it was there.

Voices of Survivors: Part 1 Maha's Story

On a Friday in April 2005, I woke up at 5AM to put final edits on a grade 12 social studies essay that was due that day. I remember the teacher saying to the class that she would not accept any late submissions under any circumstances. While working away on the family computer, my long-time physically abusive father started a fight with my older sister by joking that she should throw her 11 month old baby off the balcony. He stood towering over her and her son. I tried to protect her by separating them from each other. We rushed to the bedroom to get dressed and ready, leaving the house before the tension escalated.

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