Hoping for change this time, as Renfrew County triple femicide inquest looms
The CBC talks to Kirsten Mercer about the upcoming inquest into the murders of three Renfrew County women
On Sept. 22, 2015, three women, Carol Culleton, Anastasia Kuzyk and Nathalie Warmerdam, were murdered by the same man at three separate locations in Renfrew County. An inquest into their murders will commence on Monday, June 6th. The inquest will focus on intimate partner violence in a rural context.
Kirsten Mercer will represent a coalition of community organizations and stakeholders called End Violence Against Women Renfrew County at the inquest. The CBC spoke to Kirsten about the coalition’s expectations and the complexity of the issues at stake:
Survivors’ advocates participating in this latest inquest say they could resign themselves to defeat, but won’t.
“They’ve made the decision to participate not because they think it’s a perfect solution or because they think it will magically result in change, but because they can’t afford not to,” said Kirsten Mercer, the Toronto-based lawyer and women’s advocate who will represent End Violence Against Women Renfrew County at the inquest, which starts Monday.
Part of the problem is that domestic violence is a complex issue, one whose fixing requires deep analysis of not only our institutions, but ourselves: how children are raised to navigate relationships, getting them help if they need it, and getting parents the assistance they need to better help their kids.
“If there was any one thing that could have changed the course of events in Renfrew County for these three women, it probably involved this perpetrator getting a whole different kind of support decades and decades and decades ago,” said Mercer, the lawyer representing End Violence Against Women Renfrew County at the inquest.
“I don’t know that there’s any one thing that any justice system, partner or community agency, or any of his exes could have done to save Carol, Anastasia and Nathalie. But we do know that these problems were decades in the making, and so real solutions have to kind of be farther upstream for them to be impactful.”