Cupid’s Sting is a non-profit interpersonal violence reduction program whose mission it is to teach women tools to prevent victimization. For this week’s feature, we spoke with Laurie Samuel, Founder and Executive Director of Cupid’s Sting, to find out more about them.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
Cupid’s Sting is a women’s safety non-profit whose mission is to teach women and girls life-saving skills to prevent and reduce violence against women in our homes and communities. We get in front of the violence against women problem by teaching self-defence classes and facilitating safety workshops on situational awareness and healthy relationships. We also work with businesses and educational institutions on recognizing and addressing safety blind spots and developing frameworks to correct them.
What problem does it aim to solve?
The problem we are trying to solve is eradicating domestic violence and violence against women.
When did you start/join it?
Cupid’s Sting Non-Profit was founded in 2017 in the United States and was brought to Canada in 2019.
What made you want to get involved?
I am Criminologist and a Black woman and my background is in law enforcement. I was tired of seeing women that look like me (Black and Brown women) being brutalized at the hands of someone they love and I knew that I had to fight for them. I had the skill set and the desire and Cupid’s Sting was my way to do that.
What was the situation like when you started?
When we first started, there were a lot of tragic cases of women being murdered by their husbands and boyfriends in the news. Women were scared and wanted to learn ways to protect themselves and reached out to Cupid’s Sting. Our self-defence classes were always full and several businesses worked with us to train their staff in safety, sexual harassment, and healthy workplaces.
How has it changed since?
The COVID-19 pandemic presented a major shift in the work we do. The first lockdown in 2020 led to a significant increase in domestic violence. We could not facilitate classes or workshops in person and everyone was scared to be around other people and our class numbers went down. Our caseload increased and we had to create more innovative ways to reach women impacted by violence and those looking to gain new skills.
What more needs to be done?
More needs to be done at the systemic level. Greater funding devoted to this sector would help save a lot of lives. One of the things we do at Cupid’s Sting is to provide training and safety and security assessments to larger organizations such as Universities, local governments, and corporations. Many of the workers in larger organizations are women and managers and directors need to be more familiar with issues of violence against women as it may impact their workplaces, either through productivity and/or they may be faced directly with the violence if, for example, an abusive husband comes to his wife’s workplace to harm her.
How can our readers help?
Readers can help by having more conversations about domestic violence to bring the issue out into the open. They can also help by checking on their friends and loved ones (especially those they suspect may be in a violent relationship) to see if they need help. And we would love their help by spreading the word about Cupid’s Sting and the services we offer. Talk to us about your needs whether individual or for your social group or workplace. We are always looking to expand our team so any readers interested in volunteering or donating can reach out to our mail. They can also check out our website.
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
The Dandelion Initiative (DI). They are a non-profit working to combat sexual violence by providing tools to help victims and survivors heal from their trauma. The women that run it, Viktoria and Andrea, are awesome human beings making a difference in the Gender-Based Violence sector.