WOMEN’S INITIATIVES FOR SAFER ENVIRONMENTS-----------------------------------------------------------------------INITIATIVES DES FEMMES POUR
LA SÉCURITÉ ENVIRONMENTALE
Helping to make communities
“Safer for Women, Safer for All!!”
Back in 1990, there were a series of sexual assaults reported in the downtown core of Ottawa. Needless to say, this drew outrage and a deep concern regarding women’s safety. It was determined that the issue of women’s safety required a political voice, so two university professors decided to form an Urban Safety Committee, and requested funding from the government to start a non-profit organization that would address the issue.
The organization was called Women’s Action Center Against Violence (WACAV), and the charity operated under that name for ten years. Due to the fact that many women who contacted WACAV thought that it was a shelter for abused women, it was decided that a name change was in order, so Women’s Initiatives for Safer Environments (WISE) was born.
WISE is a small, dynamic, registered charity promoting women’s safety and working to prevent and end violence against women. WISE works directly with individuals, diverse communities, local government and agencies in order to create safer physical and social environments. WISE has two specific programs it offers the community:
A community safety audit, which includes attending a site; assessing safety issues; creating an action plan to address deficiencies and then following up with stakeholders to monitor and encourage implementation of recommendations.
Personal safety workshops – they provide women the opportunity to share their stories and learn a variety of safety strategies for different environments, and there is always a basic self-defense component at the end.
WISE also partners with different businesses and agencies, such as OC Transpo and the Ottawa Police/Crime Prevention Ottawa, in order to maintain safety standards and protocol for women.
In order for WISE to continue doing this very important work, the organization is taking part of this year’s Ottawa Race Weekend as a fundraising initiative. The funds raised will not only help to carry out regular services and programs, but also to provide enough funding to get new programs off the ground, such as a legal education workshop and an auto-mechanic workshop for women. Potential runners (or walkers) are being sought so that their network of people (friends, family, coworkers, etc) can sponsor them during the race. Donations can also be made directly to WISE by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org, or through the racing website – simply google Scotiabank Charity Challenge-Run Ottawa, click on the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon logo on the right hand side towards the bottom of the page, click on “Find a Charity” in the middle of the page, click on W under “Official Charities”, select WISE and click on donate.
We thank all runners and donors for their support, as WISE tries to make Ottawa “safer for women, safer for all”.