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Quebec records 10th femicide, advocates calling for action

Last Updated Apr 19, 2021 at 6:23 pm EDT

MONTREAL – Quebec has hit a grim milestone after recording its tenth femicide since February last week.

Provincial police say 38-year-old Dyann Serafica-Donaire died at the hands of her partner on April 16 at her home in Mercier on Montreal’s south shore.

The SQ believes Richard West killed the mother of four before taking his own life.

Elisapee Angma, Marly Edouard, Nancy Roy, Myriam Dallaire and her mother Sylvie Bisson, Carolyne Labonte, Nedege Jolicoeur, Rebekah Love Harry, and Kataluk Paningayak Naluiyuk, were all killed this year.

And now Serafica-Donaire.

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In all but one of the cases, the victim’s partner has either been charged with the crime or is suspected of committing it.

“We are now four months into the year, almost at the same number of femicides that we had for the whole of 2020,” said Info Femmes counsellor Linda Basque.

“Having it reach the point of a tenth femicide, this needs to be addressed and it needs to be addressed immediately. And the way it needs to occur is from grassroots level to all the way up,” said Humera Khan the president of Amal Centre for Women.

Serafica-Donaire’s family and friends taking to social media to describe her as someone who embodied joy with a radiant smile. The mother worked in the cafeteria of a retirement home and her colleagues say she was hardworking, but allegedly spent more time at work than required. And it’s reported she told some colleagues her relationship wasn’t working anymore.

Advocates stress the importance of people recognizing certain signs that women could be living through domestic violence, like abruptly hanging up the phone in the presence of their partner, wearing clothes that cover their bodies more than usual, or losing contact with friends.

Basque also says more men are participating in protests and joining the conversation about femicides on social media, but she says many don’t seek help when it’s desperately needed.

“Do we need to reach more men? Yes, because those speaking out are probably not those who would use violence against women,” said Basque.

The Quebec government announced an additional investment of $22.5 million over five years to increase the number of shelters for women. Advocates say it’s not enough.

“We have the tools, we have the recommendations from the two last reports, the government has said. Ms. Guilbault has said they were going to implement those–when?” said Basque.

“The government needs to invest the resources into smaller grassroot-level community organisations for it to roll out its effect on the people,” said Khan.