Couple aims to empower teens after daughter's murder

The parents of 20-year-old Natalie Novak are hoping a video about their experiences in the aftermath of her murder will help empower teenagers.

Dawn and Ed Novak created a video about their experiences after learning their daughter was killed by her boyfriend

The parents of 20-year-old Natalie Novak are hoping a video about their experiences in the aftermath of her murder will help empower teenagers to know their rights.

"Both our children went through the Ontario school system without learning about domestic violence and the abuse that can happen in emotional relationships," said Dawn Novak.

She and her husband Ed are hoping to change that.

Natalie Novak suffered abuse from her boyfriend for 18 months, before he killed her. (Supplied)

The video, which was to be shown in Sturgeon Falls Wednesday morning and in North Bay on Thursday, highlights eye-opening information the Novaks have learned since Natalie was stabbed to death in her Toronto home by her boyfriend, six years ago.

The Novaks said they didn't know their daughter was being abused.

"We didn't know there was any assaults, any illegal activity, that he was in jail, nothing," Dawn said. "That she had been assaulted — we knew nothing of this."

Natalie’s silence stemmed from her sense of pride, they said.

"Natalie was a very proud, competent person, [but she] was naïve and had little experience with relationships," Dawn added. "She became entrapped by her shame."

The couple learned Natalie divulged very little about the relationship to friends as well.

"No one really knew the danger that Natalie was in," said Ed, who noted there was a court order forbidding the boyfriend to contact her.

They also learned there were 18 months of abuse leading up to the murder — a disturbing fact that has been a hard pill for the Novaks to swallow.

"The blood was not dry on [the murderer’s] hands and he had a lawyer … we don’t have that kind of support for women," Ed said.

"If a woman is abused, it should be automatic. She should be given immediate help, support. All the money is spent at the back end, after the daughters are dead. Then we spend millions to keep this psychopath in jail … and peanuts [are] spent trying to save my daughter."

Victims Services in North Bay said it is getting more calls from young women reporting abuse.

The most recent call was from a 15-year-old girl.

Carolyn Couchie, the Executive Director of victim Services in the Nipissing District, said just under half of all the domestic calls they receive come from teenagers.

"We see anything in these young people's relationships — from pushing, punching, [and] kicking, to head injuries, [and] facial injuries, that type of thing."

This was abuse that Natalie Novak also endured, and her parents wish they had known.

The Novacks hope their video will help teens learn about the reality of abusive relationships.

The video will be shown on Thursday, at the North Bay Elks Club at 9 a.m.