October is upon us and that signals Purple Light Nights annual campaign which runs all month. The mission of this group is to shine a light on domestic violence so that it has nowhere to hide in our community, our country and all over the world.
Most people think violence is physical but in fact it’s about power and control, and fear is the most powerful weapon in its arsenal of control. Like other types of violence, domestic violence takes many forms – emotional, psychological, financial and of course, physical. The one characteristic is that the violence is most always hidden unless one knows where to look and how to look for the telltale signatures. More often than not, it is a combination of these, each with its own role to play in controlling a person and as much of their life as possible – from who they are friends with, where they go, to what they do and how they do it.
A shocking statistic is that 68 per cent of all those who are victims of domestic violence are women, which translates into 32 per cent others – men, children and people in the LGBTQ community also becoming victims. Given these numbers, it’s probable that all of us know someone who is a victim, and if they are lucky, a survivor.
Domestic violence is not limited to people of any particular economic, ethnic or cultural group. It knows no boundaries and is its own pandemic, silently stalking people into submission to being controlled. This, combined with the additional isolation due to COVID-19, substantially increases vulnerability, especially of the elderly.
The word violence is related to the word violate. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, violate means “to break or act against something, such as a law, agreement or principle, or to not respect something that should be treated with respect; A person who violates a place or situation goes where he or she is not wanted or does something the person should not do.”
Help is just a phone call away and a key to this year’s campaign theme: ROCK – an acronym for very important, indeed critical, survival tactics and planning that enable the victim to escape and survive.
R – Reach out
O – Organize important documents
C—Connect with someone
K – Keep safe
There are many organizations and groups that can help and it all starts with the all important ask. But equally important is for everyone to recognize the telltale signs of domestic violence which are sometimes very subtle and almost imperceptible unless a person is familiar with the signs.
Let us all keep in mind that domestic violence does not necessarily have bruises to show for its dirty work. More often than not, the damage is camouflaged and hidden.
Here is a short list of helpful resources that can help turn the tables on those who commit domestic violence. Help is just a phone call away. All they have to do is reach out and all of us can help make that happen.
n VICTIMLINK: 1-800-563-0808
n Victim Services: 604-869-7770
n Ann Davis Transition Society: 604-869-3201
n ReadRight Society: 604-860-0510
n SAIL (Senior Abuse Information Line): 1-866-437-1940
n Jean Scott Transition House: 604-869-5191
n Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 or Text: 686868
For more information about Purple Light Nights and how you can help shine a light on domestic violence, contact Victim Services.