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Domestic violence absent from election talks
Editorial Comment - Deh Cho Drum

Candidates for the Deh Cho and Nahendeh ridings have circled the spectrum on social issues they feel should be addressed in the next legislative assembly.

Housing, youth and health care have all appeared regularly in campaign messaging; however, the discourse around one of the territory's largest social issues is seriously lacking.

Domestic violence is difficult to address because it so often happens behind closed doors.

It happens to families you would never expect.

It happens to the poor, rich and middle class.

It happens to same-sex couples and it happens to men.

The failure of candidates to raise their voices about domestic violence reflects the failure of the GNWT to fully address these problems and find effective solutions.

Admittedly, Deh Cho Drum contributed to this silence with a recent profile of Deh Cho incumbent Michael Nadli.

The profile failed to address Nadli's recent conviction for assault causing bodily harm -- an omission that slipped past many eyes on the way to print.

Those of us who fail to speak up about domestic violence enable the abuse to continue.

Deh Cho Drum has taken steps to rectify this by reaching out to Nadli about his conviction, asking if he would make domestic violence a priority if reelected. He responded, "given the opportunity, I am committed to help in addressing the high levels of domestic violence and ensure that programs and services are in place to assist people that find themselves in those situations."

Often, we hear advocacy organizations refer to "breaking the silence" surrounding domestic abuse. The silence they refer to is a personal one, individualized for every victim. The silence is disenfranchisement, fear and hopelessness.

It must be broken over and over again if our society ever hopes to address this issue.

In the final days of the election campaign, candidates should focus their time and effort on engaging with community members about domestic violence.

Perhaps it will give them perspective into how rampant an issue it is and how many lives it has scarred.

It may also give them a way forward, if elected, to bring potential solutions to the next legislative assembly.

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