“The willingness of some men to end two lives rather than lose a woman has created its own category of crime”. She was referring to the deaths of at least Arlene May and Gillian Hadley. Thanks to the outrage of the community and the advocacy and organizing of the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH) with assistance from METRAC, both cases remained front and centre of the media and government agendas for months. Within two years of each other, both focused coroners’ inquests on wife assault and both coroners’ juries made wide-ranging recommendations for equality-based systemic changes.
OAITH, among others, used these inquests as legal venues in which to intervene on behalf of the women dead and those still under threat in their marriages. Both women had struggled to leave abusive men and had tried to use the state for protection. Both men had a history of violence and were under court orders to stay away from the women. Both men could have been detained and were not. They are typical, not atypical.
Read this story in Canada’s Promises to Keep: The Charter and Violence Against Women, pp. 155-156