Cornerstone’s Men’s Engagement Network
Celebrating 10 years of Walk A Mile
MENtality | encourageMENt | MENtors | engageMENt | fundaMENtals
Domestic violence has long been thought of as a “women’s issue,” but this is not an issue that can be dealt with by women alone. Over the past 10 years Cornerstone has rallied men to show their support for local women and children by participating in the annual Walk A Mile in Her Shoes event. Cornerstone continues to see the value in engaging men in the effort to end violence against women, and for the 10th anniversary of the Walk will be profiling and enlisting the help of men throughout the community; these men will be recognized as M.E.N – Cornerstone’s Men’s Engagement Network aka “M.E.N”
Cornerstone M.E.N is a group of men from the community that are committed to ending the cycle of violence against women. Through groups like M.E.N, we are engaging men as allies and raising the awareness of men’s roles in our work.
Each month we will profile one, or more, gentlemen, deeming them the “Man,” or “Men of the Month,” recognizing and showcasing their efforts to break the cycle of family violence.
Man of the Month
Occupation: Cobourg Police Service, Chief of Police
Born in Taiwan, Kai immigrated to Canada as a child. Growing up in Regent Park, Toronto and Montreal he developed a keen interest for a career in policing.
Chief Kai Liu has a reputation as an innovator, a champion for Diversity in the workplace and as an advocate for women in policing; Kai is helping to break the cycle of family violence within Northumberland County. Read on to find out more about Kai and why he supports Cornerstone…
Born in Taiwan, Kai immigrated to Canada as a child. Growing up in Regent Park, Toronto and Montreal he developed a keen interest for a career in policing. In 1986 he was recruited by the Ottawa Police Force as the City’s first Asian police officer. During his 22 year career with the Ottawa Force he held many challenging positions and developed a reputation as an innovator, a champion for Diversity in the workplace and a strong mentor and advocate for women in policing
His work in the field of addressing violence against women brought him recognition by women’s groups in Ottawa. In 2003 he became the first male recipient to be awarded the Ottawa Immigrant Women’s Services Award. On the invitation of the UN and CIDA he has lectured on domestic violence and violence against women in countries around the world.
On May 28, 2007, in celebration of Asian Heritage Month, on Parliament Hill, the Asian of the Year Award was presented to then Ottawa Police Inspector Kai Liu. This award recognizes contributions made by an Asian Canadian role model who balances a successful career with community and charitable work.
In 2008 Chief Liu was recognized in Regina Saskatchewan for his community service when he was awarded the National Enriching My Canada & Yours (EMCY), Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a recipient of the Police Exemplary Service Medal, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and in 2014 was inducted into the Order of Merit of the Police Forces. In April 2015, Chief Liu was honoured by Toastmaster International in Montebello Quebec where he was presented with their Communication and Leadership Award. Ending that year he received the Award of Tolerance from the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies for his continued work fostering greater tolerance for diversity and respect for freedom and democracy in Canadian Society.
In May of 2016, Chief Liu was presented by the Ontario Women in Law Enforcement (OWLE) Association the Presidential OWLE Award for his career work of supporting women in policing.
Kai served four years as the Chief of Police with the Town of Gananoque and in September 2012 was appointed Cobourg’s Chief of Police.
Why do you support Cornerstone's Youth Violence Prevention Program?
I support Cornerstone because its organizational mission mirrors my personal belief that we must stand up for those who can’t. Viewed as a leading organization in Northumberland County, Cornerstone is on the frontlines working collaboratively with the Cobourg Police Service in the efforts to end violence against women. Reflected by its motto, Cornerstone is “a place where hope grows”. I support Cornerstone because it is a place where women are helped to understand their options and build on positive changes.
What provoked you to become involved with our organization?
When asked, most police officers would describe themselves as “law enforcement officers” first. This is a reactive perspective of policing.
I personally believe for policing to have a real lasting impact on reducing the level of crime and victimization, police officers need to be more proactive and view ourselves first as crime prevention officers.
I became involved with this organization after arriving to the town of Cobourg because I viewed Cornerstone as having strong roots in prevention. Prevention programs such as their Youth Violence Prevention initiatives, Stereotype Buster and the recent grade 9 girls street proofing workshop to name a few .
What role do you think Cornerstone plays in the lives of the women & children that we assist?
In our community Cornerstone is the cornerstone for women and children they assist in their time of need. Cornerstone provides the people they advocate for the protection, support, guidance and a strong voice when they are most vulnerable and at risk.
Why do you think it is important for children and young adults to receive our Youth Violence Prevention Program?
Being 2017 many aspects of our Canadian society continues to be male-dominated. When male privilege becomes the norm this contributes to the belief and behaviour of men that they have the right to control women. As a man I must stand up against and confront these male chauvinistic beliefs, attitudes and behaviors.
Why is it important for men to want to break the cycle of family violence?
It is important for men to want to break the cycle of family violence because consistently statistic shows over 95% of victims of domestic violence are women.
Domestic violence is one of the most pervasive violations of human rights and one of the least prosecuted crimes.
Some of the biggest victims of Domestic Violence are our smallest. Studies have demonstrated that children who witness violence at home are more likely to be affected by violence as an adult, either as the perpetrator or as the victim and the destructive cycle continues
What about our cause/domestic violence resonates with you most?
On any given day in Canada, about 3,000 women and children are forced to sleep in emergency shelters to escape domestic violence.
Unfortunately, shelters can only hold so many occupants and women and children are turned away.
When we look at Cornerstone here in Cobourg, women are turned away each year because they don’t have enough room for them.
Each year over 40,000 arrests of domestic violence are made, which make up about 12 per cent of the violent crime data.
We have a duty to change the belief that domestic violence is a private, family matter, because it’s not. It is our duty as members of our communities to speak out and continue to work in partnership to make our community a safe place for all victims of crime.
Who is someone you look up to and why?
I look up to all the women I hold very dearly in my life. My mother who taught me right from wrong, my two sisters who guided me in my youth, my daughter (and two sons) who made me a better father and role model and Heidi, my wife of 32 years who is my bedrock. Without her complete support and unconditional love, I could not do what I do.