By Jenn Watt
Published Dec. 5 2017
The stomach-turning fear-inducing heart-breaking trial of Basil Borutski ended Nov. 24 with relatively little fanfare.
Covered most thoroughly by the CBC and the Ottawa Citizen the Pembroke-based case against the triple-murderer in a region about an hour from the Highlands received less recognition than it should have.
Borutski was found guilty of murdering three women in one morning back in 2015. The women each knew him well and without hesitation he systematically killed them all. One of them had previously been assaulted by him another had endured threats against her son and her dog. He was convicted in both those cases. One slept with a shotgun under her bed and had a panic button and surveillance cameras CBC reported.
November and early December are times set aside to stand with those who have experienced gender-based violence and to evaluate whether we’re doing enough to undermine the cultural norms that allow it to happen.
November is Woman Abuse Prevention Month in Ontario while this Wednesday marks the 28th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre in which 14 women were felled by a man so charged with hatred for women he took a gun into L’Ecole Polytechnique to make his point.
What happened to Anastasia Kuzyk Nathalie Warmerdam and Carol Culleton was the kind of unfathomable violence that could (and should) keep one up at night.
Aside from the specific workings of Borutski’s mind it raises crucial questions about our justice system. After all this was a man who had been reported by Warmerdam and Kuzyk for his behaviour. He was known to police. He was on probation. And yet this still happened.
Women’s Sexual Assault Centre of Renfrew County’s Julie Lalonde told the Ottawa Citizen this case had more “systemic failures” than she’d seen in her 15 years of working as a women’s rights advocate.
How many other women are coping with the same issues; fearing for their safety while violent stalkers remain unhindered?
What can we do to ensure this kind of horrific event never happens again?
As far as I know no event has been planned in Haliburton County to commemorate Dec. 6. (There was once a time when there would be more than one competing event on this date.)
However we can choose to mark the date without a formal ceremony by pledging to set out into the year to come as allies to those fleeing violence.
We can support the efforts of the YWCA Peterborough Haliburton and its women’s shelter which provided help to more than 400 women and children in this county last year.
We can donate to Kawartha Haliburton Victims Services and Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre.
And we can keep an eye on the headlines that might not necessarily be prominent on our Facebook news feeds but need our attention just the same.
We still have a long way to go to protect the safety of all members of our community.
Make Wednesday a day to affirm your support for them.