Zonta Club of Hamilton 1 recognizes community newspaper project dedicated to ending violence against women

On the fourth day of the 16 Days of Activism, the clubs of District 4, Area 2 in Canada presented two local advocates with the 2017 Zonta Says No Award for their efforts to raise awareness for the issue of gender-based violence.

At the meeting of the Zonta Club of Hamilton 1 on 28 November, the award was presented to Doreen Nicoll and Brandon Braithwaite. The two led the way for a local newspaper in the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada area to focus specifically on violence against women.

The November 2016 issue of The Anvil, a Hamilton-based newspaper, was devoted to the topic of gendered violence. The special edition was titled “This Is Not a Woman’s Issue.”

In 2016, Nicoll, who was a volunteer for the Anvil, approached her managing editor, Braithwaite, with an idea to create an entire issue dedicated to Women’s Abuse Prevention Month. Her passion for the topic came from her own experience in an abusive relationship. The issue included articles from experts, doctors, and different area services, as well as hard-hitting stories about survivors. The goal was to provide as much information as possible in one accessible place.

After it was published, over 8,000 copies were distributed to apartments and homes across downtown Hamilton, Ontario, as well as at coffee shops, universities and colleges all over Hamilton and Burlington.

Nicoll was also recognized for her efforts in creating an online platform to provide additional information. Along with a team of friends, she developed the online resource 1infour.ca. The website was developed to help women identify important services in the area. It was born out of a frustration at the complexity of knowing and taking advantage of programs that exist in Hamilton.

Braithwaite, the second award recipient, was raised by a single mother and says it is the strength of his mother that shaped him to be the person he is today. Now, he says, it is his wife Rachel, and two daughters, Abigail and Emily, that drive him to make the world a better place.

When taking on the Anvil publication project, it was his passion to reach as many of his neighbors as possible with information pertaining to the challenges of violence against women. Braithwaite and his team hoped that by providing the information to people, they could help equip them with the tools they need to combat, confront and support themselves and others facing gender-based violence.

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