torstar news service file photo


FeFe Dobson will perform at Siren Sounds, a benefit concert Saturday at the Opera House in support of Interval House.


When you’ve watched your sister get beat up and hooked on drugs by an abusive boyfriend, you take steps to help make sure it doesn’t happen to other women.

That’s part of the reason why Fefe Dobson is leading a pack of pop chanteuses — including 2005 Canadian Idol winner Melissa O’Neil, Anjulie and Zoe Bentley — at Siren Sounds, a benefit concert (which Metro sponsors) on Saturday at the Opera House. The gig supports Interval House, a local shelter for abused women and their children.

Violence against women (be it physical, sexual, psychological, etc.) is an issue close to the heart of the Scarborough native, 22, who not only saw her sibling endure the aforementioned years-long ordeal, but also witnessed more abuse first-hand on her mother’s side of the family.

“My mom was a single parent and the men she had dated were very wishy-washy and we always grew up without a father,” she says in an interview from Interval House. “I was standing here in the kids’ room, and I might not be in it, but I can feel when I was as a child and I can feel my brothers who were in it at the moment. I can feel that energy and it hurts, you know?

“For my generation, my age group, there’s a lot of people who don’t pay attention to helping people, we’ve forgotten that it’s OK to help people, to put yourself out there.”

To continue keeping up a home for women in crisis, public support is of great importance, Interval House resource development administrator Felicia Migliore says, adding events like Siren Sounds shed light on an important cause.

“Some people think, ‘Oh, we have shelters now, the problem is solved,’” she says. “It’s not solved. The more attention we give it, the more people recognize that this is a problem that needs to be dealt with. It’s so important to end the cycle of violence. Kids who witness their parents being abusive are more likely to repeat it.”

abuse against women

  • Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.

  • At least one woman is killed by her partner each week in Canada.

  • Of the almost 34,000 victims of spousal violence reported in 2000, women accounted for the majority of victims (85 per cent), a total of 28,633 victims.