Men at women's centre?
Goal is to help women and their families

by Marty Brown
Northern News Services

NNSL (Feb 26/97) - Arlene Hache makes no excuses for men dropping in to the Yellowknife Women's Centre.

"Our goal is to help women and their families. As long as the women define men as part of their family, it's OK," said the executive director.

Women at the centre Monday afternoon weren't upset with men dropping in.

"People are judged person by person. Some come for lunch, some take a muffin to go. It doesn't bother me," said Kimm Rodgers, a young mother who drops in regularly. "But I'm not a battered woman."

Besides, the women's centre is a handy place for families to meet. "My husband meets us here," said Rodgers.

The odd time a drunk woman will come in with a drunk man, but the RCMP are called if they don't leave and there's usually no problem.

Even if a known wife-batterer comes in, Hache said it's the woman's choice to be with him. Centre staff honor that choice, she said.

However, drunks and sexual harassment aren't tolerated. Three staff members are on the premises at all times to make sure the rules are followed.

"Some women prefer to have the centre for women only but we want to meet all women's needs," said Hache.

Rhonda Head, for one, welcomes her husband at the centre. He helps out with the kids, she said.