Friday, 17 February 2012

NIMBY-ism and Ottawa's Interval Women's Shelter

An interesting article in today's Ottawa Citizen about a new women's shelter opening in my general area.  Apparently, many neighbours are up in arms, citing safety issues.  In my mind this is the worst kind of NIMBY-ism.  Here are women and children whose own safety is threatened by someone presumably close to them and the community doesn't want them.  Where's the compassion?  This heaping misery on top of misery for these poor people.  Can people not put themselves in the shoes of these women and children?  If they, or someone they loved, found themselves in an abusive relationship, wouldn't they want them to have a safe haven?  These people are victims who are doing something to try to get their lives back on track, people who need help and understanding and who are instead being met with more hostility.

One of the neighbours interviewed is concerned that her autistic 21 year-old son might wander to the curb waving a knife around and be shot by some unspecified "they".  Seriously?  Am I the only person who sees some screwed up irony in this?

My own experience with Kate's illness is that a lot of people are caring and genuinely want to help those in need.  At the same time, I find that a significant bloc of people can't see beyond their own very narrowly defined self-interest.  Increasingly, purely based on personal observation, our society seems to be more self-centred with people either oblivious to the impact their actions have on others, or who simply don't care.

I'm curious to know your views.  What would be your position if the house across the street from you was turned into a women's shelter?

1 comment:

  1. It seems to me that most people really want to help others. As long as it doesn't inconvenience them in any measurable way.