November is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Canada. Statistics show that 1 in 3 Canadian women will experience domestic abuse from an intimate partner in their lifetime, but it does not stop there as it can affect people of all races, cultures, socioeconomic classes, religions, genders and sexual orientations.
Domestic violence is also a much broader epidemic than just that of physical abuse as it could likely include several other forms of abuse as well such as sexual, psychological and emotional.
Since the start of the Pandemic, domestic violence has become a Pandemic within a Pandemic once the stay-at-home-orders came into effect and with a big surge in job loss, unemployment, economic instability, childcare instability, housing instability and travel restrictions it has made it more and more difficult for many victims who have been confined to their homes with their abusers to safely connect with the necessary services or outside help including reporting to authorities.
Many victims are staying out of fear or because they feel trapped, both of which have been very likely scenerios even long before the Pandemic began.
Although there are many signs that someone is being abused, they are not always as visible to outsiders, especially with so many of the current living circumstances for victims right now.
It can also be very difficult to clearly see signs of abuse because most perpetrators learn the art of manipulation and control over their victim’s mind and emotions.
Signs of Abuse:
-Bullying, threatening or controlling tactics
-Controlling your money
-Cutting you off from your family and friends
-Physical or sexual abuse
Keep an eye out for these signs if you think a loved one is a victim of domestic violence:
-Excuses for injuries
-Personality changes, like low self-esteem in someone who was always confident
-Constantly checking in with their partner
-Never having money on hand
-Overly worried about pleasing their partner
-Skipping out on work, school, or social outings for no clear reason
-Wearing clothes that don’t fit the season, like long sleeves in summer to cover bruises
Lastly, if your gut is telling you that a friend or loved one may be a victim of domestic violence say something! Listen, ask questions and offer to help in any way you can. And remember, never judge another person’s situation or a decision that someone else may make unless you have walked a mile in their shoes. Empower them instead to give them the courage they may need to become stronger and more confident.
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