By: Varvara Dyakonova
Last month I came across an interview of a young woman named Daria, who was a victim of domestic abuse from her coworker and romantic partner. On April 21 2020, she was shot in the face from a hunting rifle; Daria lost an eye and went through painful surgeries as treatment. Previously, she suffered from verbal abuse, which later developed into physical abuse. She did not go to the police at the time, because of the saying “keep it in the family”. The shooter was sentenced only for 5 years of the general regime, while the maximum sentence is 10 years of hard prison. On trial, he said that Daria was the only one to blame.
As the pandemic hit the world, people were forced to stay at home. Some are lucky enough to have healthy family dynamics, whereas others are locked with abusers. Data shows that Canada’s Assaulted Women’s Helpline received 20,334 calls between October 1 and December 31, 2020, compared to 12,352 over the same period in 2019. Additionally, the police registered 51,299 calls between April 1 and September 30, 2020 compared to 24,010 calls the previous year.
The number of reported domestic-related crimes had doubled during the pandemic.
Domestic abuse has always been a major problem in society. And domestic abuse includes not only physical violence, but also financial, emotional and sexual. The reasons for abuse vary, starting from psychological disorders, learned behaviour from childhood, cultural “norms”, alcohol and drugs and others. However, abuse cannot be justified. Nevertheless, both abusers and victims need psychological counselling.
There are several organizations that can help to deal with domestic violence not only in resolving conflict of where to live, but also in offering psychological help to victims. Women’s Shelters Canada offers places to stay for women; the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (CNPEA) focuses on the prevention and response for elder abuse, while the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) provides clinical care for those with mental health issues. There are crisis lines for people in different provinces in Canada that may be found on the Canadian women’s foundation website. Examples for Ontario include Talk4Healing, 211 Ontario Helpline, and more.
For all of us, it is crucial to educate people and talk about domestic abuse. After all, spreading information about signs of abuse and potential resources that anyone can access may let people notice if they or somebody in their social circle requires help.
1. “Violence against Women.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/violence-against-women.
2. Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J., & Stevens, M.R. (2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs_report2010-a.pdf.
3. Hubbard, Kaia. “U.N. Report Puts Spotlight on ‘Shocking’ Views About Domestic Abuse.” U.S. News, 25 Nov. 2020, www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2020-11-25/growing-calls-to-e nd-worsening-domestic-violence-amid-coronavirus-pandemic
4. Canada, Public Health Agency of. “Government of Canada.” Canada.ca, 22 Oct. 2020, www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/health-promotion/stop-family-violence/services.html
5. Toby D. Goldsmith, MD. “What Causes Domestic Violence?” Psych Central, Psych Central, 17 May 2016, www.psychcentral.com/lib/what-causes-domestic-violence#1
6. “Domestic Violence Resources.” Canadian Association of Social Workers, 19 Aug. 2021, www.casw-acts.ca/en/resources/domestic-violence-resources
7. Canada, Public Health Agency of. “Government of Canada.” Canada.ca, / Gouvernement Du Canada, 7 Sept. 2020, www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/health-promotion/stop-family-violence/find-other-organizations-working-area-family-violence.html
8. “Support Services.” Canadian Women’s Foundation, 28 May 2021, www.canadianwomen.org/support-services/