Nova Scotia

Boxing fundraiser inappropriate, critics say

A boxing event to help raise money for a homeless shelter has critics questioning whether it's an appropriate way to support a charity that often provides refuge for victims fleeing violence.

A boxing event to help raise money for a homeless shelter has critics questioning whether celebrating violence is an appropriate way to support a charity that often provides refuge for victims fleeing abuse.

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On Thursday night, nine well-known Halifax women who have been training for nearly three months, will step into the boxing ring at the Fight for Change match to raise funds for Shelter Nova Scotia, an organization that helps the homeless.

"Fundraising dollars are thin and we have to start coming up with ways to get people's attention," said Meghan Laing, chair of the project and one of the boxers.

So far the event has raised $48,000.

"This event leaves a very poor taste in many people's mouths," said Joanne Bernard, executive director of Alice Housing, which helps women and children leaving domestic abuse.

"It just doesn't make sense. Girl fight should never be used in any context to promote any organization and certainly not any fundraising effort," Bernard said.

Sherri Lecker agrees. She is executive director of Adsum House, which provides support to women and children who are homeless.

"Something that celebrates violence rather than condemning, can also help to perpetuate the problem of violence against women," Lecker said.
Sheri Lecker, executive director for Adsum House in Halifax, says boxing among women celebrates violence. (CBC)

Lecker said often they are homeless because they're fleeing domestic abuse.

Laing said it's not about violence, but empowerment and that boxing is misunderstood.

"Boxing is a great metaphor for life, one of the first rules of modern boxing  is to never hit a downed opponent and I think each time we walk by someone on the street and we turn our head, we're breaking that first rule," she said.

Bernard said she believes all nine women taking part in the event are generous and doing it for the right reasons, but she feels women boxing is not the way to go about it.

She said people should continue to give directly to the organization of their choice, not by supporting an event where women are fighting each other.  

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