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My name is Natasha Dobler and Im the Chair of the Hamilton Woman Abuse Working Group

and the local Violence Against Women Coordinating Committee. Im here today, representing a
coalition of over 20 agencies in the city of Hamilton working to end violence against women. We
support efforts through advocacy, education, and leadership to engage the community to end
violence against women, and their children, by working to remove systemic barriers that
perpetuate this violence.
We are shocked, outraged, and distraught that yet another woman in our community has been
killed at the hands of intimate partner violence. Tania Cowell was ripped from the fabric of our
community, from her family and friends, and from her 5 month old son, Bailun. The horror and
fear and helplessness she must have felt in her last few breaths, must never happen again, to any
other woman. The devastating impact of this death, and the resulting manslaughter verdict will
have a harmful ripple effect across our country and throughout our society. It is our sincere hope
that the court will take the magnitude and significance of this influence into consideration.
No woman ever deserves to be abused or killed. The long held belief that victims of domestic
violence somehow caused or provoked the violence perpetrated upon them, is false, misleading,
unjust, and outdated. This court, and your Honour, have the opportunity to reaffirm that victims
are not to be blamed!
We are terrified that the message this verdict sends to women living in abusive relationships, will
increase the fear of reaching out for help, or reporting to police in our community. Women are
already afraid of leaving abusive relationships for many reasons, the fear of not being believed,
the difficulties of navigating family court, the difficulties of enforcing restraining orders, the lack
of affordable and secure housing, the fear for the safety of their children, and the fear of being
killed. The criminal justice system was not able to save Tanias life, but it does have the ability to
send a strong, clear message today. The message that womens lives and their safety matter.
We are horrified and infuriated that the message being sent to abusers is that they could literally
get away with murder. The court has the ability, and the moral duty, to change this message by
holding Tania Cowells perpetrator fully responsible and accountable for his actions.
We are concerned about the impact on the children in our community, as well as the fear and
sense of not feeling safe for those children whose mothers are in harms way. We have an overall
sense of outrage on the part of community members who value children and are working to make
Hamilton the best place to raise a child.
We implore this court to send a strong, clear message to our Community that victims are never to
be blamed for abuse, that their safety is paramount, that the criminal justice system will hold
abusers accountable for the crimes that they commit, that Hamilton is a safe place to raise a child,
and that violence against women and their children, in all its forms, will not be tolerated by our
Thank you for allowing our community to have a voice.