Montrealers march in memory of Rebekah Love Harry, calling for action against domestic abuse

Montrealers gathered downtown Saturday in memory of Rebekah Love Harry, a woman who’s death sparked outrage across the province, as people demand the government do more to fight violence against women.

Harry was found unconscious by police at her LaSalle residence on March 20. She was immediately rushed to hospital, where she later died. She was 29-years-old.

Officers arrested Brandon McIntyre, 32, who has been charged with second degree murder and assault.

"Rebekah was an amazing woman, amazing mother, amazing cook, amazing singer, amazing dancer, and an amazing friend," said Sasha Bouvier, who’s known Harry for 10 years. "We will truly miss her."

Rebekah Love Harry. Source: Facebook

"She was like one in a million ... she was so nice with everyone. If you never met her, you would feel comfortable instantly with her," said Alyssia Frenette, Harry's niece.

“We say things like ‘he was drinking,’ (or) ‘he was really mad,’ ‘I deserved it,’ or ‘he won’t do it again.’ Just examples of what we try to make ourselves believe,” said her brother, Teddy Frenette during a public address last week.

“But we are wrong, and this needs to stop.”

Since the start of the pandemic, 13 Quebec women have been murdered in cases linked to domestic violence, including eight within the last eight weeks.

Friends and family of Rebekah Harry are marching downtown Montreal today in memory of the 29-year-old woman who was killed last month. Advocates say there’s been a rise in deadly domestic violence this year. Coming up on @CTVMontreal pic.twitter.com/nPquoJrwhS

— Gabrielle Fahmy (@GabrielleFahmy) April 3, 2021

Saturday’s march was the second in Montreal this week, with thousands parading through the city’s streets Friday chanting "enough is enough. Not one more."

That protest was one of many happening across the province Friday, all calling for government action.

PANDEMIC PUSHES SURVIVORS INTO 'PRECARIOUS' POSITION

Advocates say the pandemic has made the situation worse for survivors of domestic abuse. 

"The main key for an abuser is isolation. They like to isolate you from everything," said Svetlana Chernienko, a mental health and domestic abuse advocate and survivor of domestic abuse.

"So of course it becomes precarious right now during a pandemic, because we have isolation, we have curfew, we have to stay away so that is like a key factor for an abuser."

LAWMAKERS CALL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN 'A PRIORITY'

When the government presented its budget last week, it announced $4.5 million more per year to be divided by the more than 100 shelters in the province.

“I will handle the file myself,” said Quebec Premier Francois Legault in an interview with the French language news outlet Noovo.

“I guarantee there will not be a funding problem.”

Other lawmakers have also publicly vowed to act quickly to fight domestic abuse.

“I want to address this crisis as a priority,” Deputy Premier Genevieve Guilbault told CTV News on Monday.

“We are addressing this important issue by taking care of in the highest level of the government,”

Guilbault announced she’ll lead a new committee on violence against women in Quebec, and though she hesitated to provide a concrete action plan, she said that “money will be no issue.”

“If we need more money in shelters, we will spend more money,” she said, alluding to calls from Quebec's federation of women's shelters (FMHF) to spend more on housing services for women in need.

“I think we all have to make the individual decision that ‘this is enough’,” said Guilbault.

SUPPORT NETWORK

Victims of domestic violence can contact SOS violence conjugale at 1-800-363-9010.

Other resources:

 

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