Reality of gender based violence is complex

Columnist Pamela Ana discusses women in abusive relationships and what resources are available in the Alberni Valley.

Gender based violence affects all. It destroys families, weakens the fabric of society and takes a heavy toll on communities and the economy.

People who live in abusive relationships are more likely to experience low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts or PTSD. A reminder to Canadians to take action began Nov. 25 with what is known as the 16 Days of Activism.

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender –Based Violence is an international organization evolving from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991. These dates were chosen to symbolically link violence against women and human rights, emphasizing such violence is a violation of human rights. Participation is worldwide including over 180 countries, 5,478 organizations, policymakers, government, UN agencies and countless numbers of individuals.

Port Alberni is a participant thanks to the Alberni Community and Women’s Services Society (ACAWS).

Did you notice the purple ribbons lining the boulevard in front of the Catalyst Mill? Each of the 219 ribbons reflect a domestic violence call received by the RCMP between Nov. 1 of last year and Nov. 1 of this year. This number has increased over last year by 60 calls.

These statistics are also lower than the known incidents as many women do not report to the police that they are experiencing domestic violence.

The reality of abuse is complex. Society grapples with the notion that the woman is to blame for their abuse when they choose to stay.  Sadly enough, those abused believe this too. The one thing blame will not do, is change any of this.

Why don’t women just leave?

Many people who do not live with an abusive partner say that if their partner were ever to harm them they would leave. Many women who experience violence remember having the same resolve. There are some serious factors that do weigh on a women’s decision to leave. This is the man she loves or has loved. He may be the father of her children.   Ending an intimate relationship is never easy and even more so when one’s self-confidence has been undermined.

Women fear that no one will believe their partners abuse and/or beat them; the behavior happens ‘behind closed doors’.  Women often discover that many people and agencies trivialize the impact of abuse and no one seems to understand they feel like a prisoner who might be severely injured or die at the hands of the jailer.

Women conclude that since people don’t understand the seriousness of the abuse, they do not support disruption of the family.

Often women are isolated by their partner and lose their support systems. The partner is usually highly possessive and excessively jealous.   They believe they ‘own’ the woman, are entitled to her exclusive attention and/or absolute obedience. The partner knows that if the truth is told, supportive people will urge the women to leave or seek assistance.

Many of the abusive partners become remorseful after being violent.  Since most women believe in committed relationships, building their lives around the relationship, they hope and believe the partner will change.   Women are reluctant to leave when they and their partners are receiving counselling, as they believe profound changes will occur and the abuse will stop.

Even when women decide to the leave, their partners will put up many barricades.   The partners threaten everything from stalking, to seeking custody of the children, to withholding support, interfering with employment, to turn children, friends and family against them, retaliatory suicide or other ways to escalate the violence.

Escalation is also used to coerce the woman into reconciliation or to retaliate for trying to leave. A real fact is; women are killed by their partners.

Leaving an abusive relationship is a process. Most women leave and return several times. The first time may be a test to see if her partner will actually get some help to stop the behaviour.   When the violence occurs again, she may leave to gather more information about available resources.

The next leaving may be about breaking the isolation or gaining financial independence.

The most likely predictor of a woman permanently ‘staying gone’ is whether she has the economic resources to survive on her own. Most women do leave.

If you or someone you know is experiencing an abusive relationship, speak with a doctor (GP), health professional, or therapist/counsellor. ACAWS is a helpful community resource  (250-724-7111).

facebook.com/albernivalleynews

twitter.com/alberninews

 

Just Posted

San Group ups plans for mill, remanufacturing plant in Port Alberni

Company moves new mill site after public input

Crooner classics past and present in spotlight, courtesy of Ken Lavigne

Island tenor prepares for upcoming concert tour of Let Me Be Frank!

Port Alberni workers to honour Day of Mourning on April 28

Annual event honours workers who lost their lives on the job

Tseshaht First Nation athlete honoured with provincial sports award

Rain Thomas competes in three different sports

Alberni Valley firefighters pass the boot for Muscular Dystrophy

Annual fundraiser started in 1967 with Port Alberni Fire Department

VIDEO: Alberni Valley celebrates Easter weekend

Port Alberni children enjoy Easter egg hunts and spring activities

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

VIDEO: Duncan-Nanaimo’s Funkanometry bow out of ‘World of Dance’ with ‘After Hours’ routine

Judges praised them as entertainers, and urged them to work a bit more on their dancing

VIDEO: Fish farming company launches $30-million vessel to treat salmon for sea lice in B.C. waters

Freshwater treatment an improvement but fish farms should be removed from sea, says conservationist

Singh says childhood abuse steeled him for scrutiny and stress of politics

He recounts the assaults for the first time in his book Love & Courage

Despite five extra weeks’ parental leave in Canada, dads still face stigma: survey

One reason people said dads don’t need leave is because they can just bond with their kids at weekend

Vintage bottles, magic cards, a 1969 Playboy: Quirky items found in historic B.C. buildings

Crews set aside some of the funkier pieces emerging from the construction rubble

PHOTOS: Inside the ‘shoe house’ in Northern B.C.

A rare look inside the famous Kitseguecla Lake Road shoe house, with a tour led by owner Toby Walsh

Thieves steal five of Seven Dwarves ornaments honouring B.C. couple’s late son

For the second time in a year, several garden ornaments stolen from Cloverdale family’s front garden

Most Read