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Window broken in late-night attack at Ottawa councillor’s home

Innes Ward Coun. Laura Dudas says her windows were broken in the middle of the night on Aug. 6 when someone threw a rock into her living room.
Innes Ward Coun. Laura Dudas says her windows were broken in the middle of the night on Aug. 6 when someone threw a rock into her living room. City of Ottawa

An Ottawa city councillor says her family is still processing after someone threw a rock through her window in the middle of the night last Thursday.

“Days later, we’re still extremely rattled by the circumstances,” Innes Coun. Laura Dudas told Global News on Tuesday.

Dudas said she and her children were sleeping on Thursday night when they were woken by the sound of windows smashing in the living room.

She discovered the following morning that her car was also damaged and forced open, but nothing was taken from inside.

Dudas said she has been in contact with the police and the City of Ottawa’s corporate security team to address the incident and her family’s safety.

The councillor, who received a separate threat a few months earlier, said she has struggled to uncover the motivation behind the attack, but pointed to a rising tide of violence and abuse against female politicians as a contributing factor.

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On the same day Dudas’s home was attacked, Ottawa Centre MP Catherine McKenna’s community office was targeted by a man who berated her staffers with abusive and derogatory language. Ottawa police are investigating that incident as well.

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Though throwing a stone through her window might be a more physically violent act, Dudas said in a way it is easier to explain that to her children than when individuals target women or visible minorities with abusive language.

“That’s really hard to tell your children,” she said.

Like McKenna, Dudas called out the power of social media to stoke misogyny as a threat to women who are considering entering politics.

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In February, Dudas asked Ottawa’s integrity commissioner and city clerk to craft a social media policy to help reduce online harassment directed towards councillors.

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“It’s gotten so out of hand, particularly online,” she said Tuesday.

“It becomes incredibly scary when that online vitriol spills over into real life and people feel emboldened to take actions.”

At first, Dudas said she wasn’t sure if she should share her story. But she said the more she processed the event, she resolved to speak out publicly to show others that public abuse cannot be tolerated.

Many of Dudas’s colleagues on city council and others in the community have spoken out since the incident was made public to offer their support to her. Mayor Jim Watson tweeted that the attack was “disturbing and completely unacceptable.”

“The more women speak out about these things or at least shed light on this happening, my great hope is it will stop this from happening,” Dudas told Global News.

“We will continue to speak out against it. It has to stop.”

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