The month of November is Family Violence Prevention Month and Alberta has the third highest rate of self-reported spousal violence in Canada.
Domestic and family violence is defined as any use of physical or sexual force, in an intimate relationship.
It may include a single act of violence, or a number of acts forming a pattern of abuse through the use of controlling behaviour.
The pattern of abuse may include: physical abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse and stalking.
Domestic violence cuts across every line of geography, income and social status. Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone; it does not discriminate. Abuse is found in every community in our country and thousands of incidents of domestic violence occur every year.
Domestic violence is not always observable through physical injury. Changes in behaviour, demeanour, and social relationships can also be a signs of issues within an intimate relationship.
Why do domestic violence victims stay?
Why a victim may stay with their abuser is complex. Domestic violence has many escalating steps.
In most cases, the victim has been made to believe their abuser will hurt or kill them. In these cases, the victims usually know their abuser well and the extent they will go to hold control over them. A victim always feels the behaviours could get more violent at any time.
Most victims don’t know the extent of the resources and support readily available for them.
If you or someone you know is in danger call 911.
For local support, get in touch with your local Victim Services Unit, family doctor, friends, family or a neighbour. As well, there is the toll-free Family Violence Hotline (310-1818).
The public can also show their support online by using the hashtag #GoPurpleAB and sharing resources online.
Below is a poem called He Hit Me Today, But That’s Ok by Jody M. Boyer about how a victim feels and tries to make sense of what is happening.
Day 1. He called me fat today,
but that’s ok because I did gain a few pounds. At least he didn’t call me dumb.
Day 198. He called me stupid today,
but that’s ok because I am forgetful sometimes. At least he doesn’t cheat on me.
Day 302. He told me I am not enough today and needs a side piece to satisfy his needs.That’s ok because I’m a tired mom, not a supermodel. I have health issues and work grueling shifts. At least he doesn’t get physically abusive.
Day 439. He pushed me down today, but that’s ok becauseI was obviously in his way and he was drunk. At least I don’t have bruises.
Day 562. He squeezed my arm so hard today it left a mark. That’s ok because he was focused on communication. At least he didn’t punch me.
Day 612. He hit me so hard today that it gave me a headache. That’s ok because I get headaches all the time and
I know he didn’t mean to hurt me.
Day 729. He hit me today and I have bruises and swelling. That’s ok because I am a klutz and bruise easily. At least I don’t have broken bones.
Day 863. I woke up in the hospital today with tubes, wires, machines and hospital staff all around.But it’s ok. I‘m still alive.
Day 1095. Today someone left flowers at my grave and whispered,
“Why did she let him get passed day 1?”
– Submitted by Ponoka Victim Services