This week is Prevention of Violence Against Women Week in British Columbia, an annual observance designed to highlight the issue of intimate partner violence and abuse, and galvanize people to do their part to address it.
At Kelowna Women’s Shelter, we see the effects of violence every day, on the women who suffer it, and on the children who witness it.
The results are devastating and far-reaching: Anxiety, fear, depression, loss of confidence, and in many instances, severe cases of complex post-traumatic stress disorder that can take a lifetime to heal.
Here are some facts:
- Women are more likely than men to be victims of intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking.
- One in three women will be a victim of violence, yet the actual incidence is estimated much higher as a large percentage of this violence still goes unreported. In fact, 70 per cent of intimate partner violence is not reported to police.
- Every six days in Canada, a woman is killed by her intimate partner.
- Aboriginal women have higher rates of violence, and are killed at six times the rate of non-aboriginal women.
- Children who witness abuse are twice as likely to become abusers or victims of abuse.
- The annual cost of spousal violence against women in Canada is estimated close to $5 billion.
- On any given night in Canada, more than 6,200 women and children seek refuge in women’s shelters. About 300 a night are turned away because there is no room.
So what can you do?
Help us spread the word abuse is never okay but asking for help is.
Talk to your kids and support better education for youth on healthy relationships and violence prevention. Research shows programs like our Inside/Out Violence Prevention Program for Youth are highly effective, and help young people avoid the cycle of abuse.
Encourage the men in your life to be respectful, and to call out others when they’re not.
Violence against women affects us all, and we each have a role to play in ending abuse and building hope, this week, and every week!
Executive Director Kelowna Women’s Shelter