Domestic violence is not a women’s issue, it’s a human rights issue.
We all know someone or of someone who has been abused because this issue is far too prevalent. Although many individuals are familiar with the word “abuse” not everyone is familiar with the various types of abuse. Many individuals equate abuse to physical abuse when in actuality there are numerous types of abuse including: mental, financial, verbal, sexual, emotional, spiritual and stalking/harassment.
Why do women stay in abusive relationships?
Many women will remain in a toxic relationship for the sake of their children or due to fear of harsher abuse if they are caught trying to escape. In many cultures women face a stigma for leaving their husband and are forbidden from returning to their parents’ home. Some cultures view divorce, separation or a woman returning to her parents’ home as a sign of failed parenting and shameful behavior. Consequently, women are often left with no option but to remain in an abusive relationship. Furthermore, according to the Canadian Women’s Foundation women are in more danger after leaving their abuser.
Another factor that affects women’s choice to remain in an abusive relationship is the abusive partner was not always abusive. Sometimes women believe that there is chance that things might go back to the way they were before the abusive began. Some women may also rationalize the abuse with justifications such as it’s a “tough time” in the relationship which will be overcome in time.
If you are being abused, there are various outlets for help.
I believe many victims remain in these relationships because they don’t know about what resources are available to them. There are numerous outlets for abuse victims of all ages including: women’s shelters, helplines, support groups and legal protection.
Justice system: For instance, upon reporting abuse a victim can ask for a restraining order. This forbids the abuser to be around the premises known to be the within the victims daily routines including work, home and other locations they know where the victim may be. Although this is not a permanent solution it can provide the victim enough time to move to a safer location if need be.
Upon calling the police, the victim will be asked to provide an affidavit speaking to the reported incident of abuse. The victim will be taken to the police station to provide a statement regarding the incident. The victim may also be asked to provide a VIS also known as a victim impact statement which outlines the type of abuse the victim endured and how it made them feel. The police will then use this statement to support their case and bring it before the court. If the victim is not comfortable going before the abuser in court, then the Crown (prosecutors on behalf of the government) will submit the written victim impact statement on the victim’s behalf. The victim will also be provided free services such as case updates via victim services. Victim services also provide free counselling for victims of abuse.
Who can you contact?
You can also call 9-1-1 if you call and hang up as the police are obligated to send over officers. You won’t have to say anything over the phone.
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