Ending Violence Against Women: Facts & Tips

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Ending Violence Against Women: Facts & Tips



Each April marks the Prevention of Violence Against Women Week in British Columbia. This yearly observance highlights the issue of intimate partner violence and abuse. At the same time, it galvanizes people to do their part to address it. While it might not be April, it’s always a good time to discuss how we ALL have a role to play in ending violence against women.

The effects of violence against women

At Kelowna Women’s Shelter, we see the effects of violence against women every day. And not just on the women who suffer it, but on the children who witness it too.

The results are devastating and far-reaching.

Potential long-term mental effects:

  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Depression
  • Loss of confidence

Not to mention, in many instances, it results in severe cases of complex post-traumatic stress disorder that can take a lifetime to heal.

As for the physical effects of violence against women, the consequences are equally alarming. In fact, long-term abuse is linked to many chronic health conditions including:

  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Digestive problems (including ulcers)
  • Heart problems
  • Chronic pain
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Facts about violence against women

The statistics surrounding violence against women are nothing short of shocking. If you’ve never experienced abuse yourself, you might not be aware of just how common it is–even in Canada.

Take a look at these statistics about violence against women to get a better understanding of the topic:

  • 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. But the actual incidence is much higher. Why? A large percentage of this violence still goes unreported. In fact, 70 percent of intimate partner violence is not reported to the police.
  • An intimate partner kills a woman in Canada every six days.
  • Aboriginal women have higher rates of violence. They 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 from women’s shelters 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. They play a powerful role in helping young people avoid the cycle of abuse. Click here to learn more about the program and how you can help.

What else can you do? Encourage the men in your life to be respectful. And then call out others when they’re not.

Violence against women affects us all. We each have a role to play in ending abuse and building hope. And we don’t need to wait until April to play our part.
Another way we can play our part is by donating or volunteering our time and resources. At the Kelowna Women’s Shelter, we rely on the support and generosity of the community to do what we do. If you’d like to learn more about how to get involved, click here.

Karen Mason is the executive director of Kelowna Women’s Shelter. We provide emergency and transitional housing, counselling support. We also offer preventive education programs to women and their children who’ve experienced violence and abuse. Reach her at [email protected]

Are you seeking help or resources to escape an abusive situation? Click here.

Did you learn a lot from this post? Here are three more to read next:

What is the Definition of Domestic Abuse?
How to Leave an Abusive Relationship
How Does The Law Handle Domestic Abuse in Canada?

This article was originally published in 2016, but has been updated in 2020 just for you!

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