Domestic violence affects one in four women — look around to your friends and know that in a group of women the chances of at least a couple of them being impacted by domestic violence is a high probability. Sixty per cent of British Columbians know someone who has been a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence.
It is estimated that more than 160,000 B.C. women were victims of domestic violence from 2004 to 2009 and on average, ten women a year are murdered at the hands of their intimate partner.
As of 2010, there were 582 known reports of missing or murdered Aboriginal women in Canada with B.C. recording more than any other province. Research demonstrates that victimization rates are much higher among Aboriginal than non-Aboriginal women.
Twenty-four percent of Aboriginal women said that they have been victims of domestic violence in the five-year period ending in 2004.
Geographic isolation, lack of access to services, lack of transportation, and poverty heighten the risk for Aboriginal women.
The province of B.C. commits more than $70 million per year in prevention and intervention services and programs that benefit victims of domestic violence and other crimes.
It is estimated that 30 to 40 per cent of children who witness the abuse of their mothers are also being abused. Over 600,000 B.C. school-aged children are impacted by domestic violence and a young girl who witnesses her mother being abused is four times more likely to enter into an abusive relationship when she is older. Boys are ten times more likely to grow up to be abusers if they witness their mothers being abused. These stats are alarming.
The question then becomes what can the public do to end domestic violence? Standing up against it is the answer. The month long Purple Lights campaign has been going strong with purple lights being shone across Hope. People showing their support for the cause by wearing purple have been helping to start the conversation around ending violence against women and children in the community.
“Each of us has the power to help another to gain the confidence and instill self-worth, so no child or woman has to be a victim of abuse at the hands of their intimate partner or parent,” said Gerry Dyble, executive director at Hope and Area Transition Society.
Be part of the solution and shine a light on domestic violence. Hope provides access to several services for women, children, and families through programs offered by Victim Services 604-869-7770, Hope and Area Transition Society (featuring Stopping the Violence and Children Who Witness Abuse programs) 604-869-5111, Jean Scott Transition House 604-869-5191 and Ann Davis Services 604-792-2760. All services are free and confidential.