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There has been an undoubted swell of conversation on violence against women in recent weeks. A few swipes on your smartphone or clicks on the computer and you’re reading another story about CBC host Jian Ghomeshi or football player Ray Rice. But still, domestic violence remains an unpopular topic that many are reluctant to discuss. And though current news is rife with many high-profile abuse cases, women are still unlikely to report abuse when it occurs.
November is Ontario Woman Abuse Prevention Month and since statistics tell us that at least half of all Canadian women have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16, this month becomes even more important.
Recent high-profile cases have reminded us that abuse has a wide scope and is not selective in its victims: women from all walks of life are affected by domestic violence. This is why prevention is so paramount for ending the cycle of abuse.
Abuse is preventable. How? By encouraging an open dialogue and recognizing the warning signs. By empowering women with the ability to stop abusive relationships from the very beginning. By empowering men to speak out against violence against women, and the broader community to have these important conversations. At Interval House, we advocate a holistic approach, recognizing that all women are different and in order to fully break the cycle of violence, each standard of living, from quality housing to employment, to mental and emotional well-being, must be met.
Advocacy and encouraging leadership are also a major part of our mandate, and an important part of abuse prevention. Whether organizing speakers to visit schools and speak to violence, or presenting on the signs of abuse to nursing students, we aim to prevent assault and harm in the community.
Want to get involved this Ontario Woman Abuse Prevention Month? Interval House welcomes volunteers to help with various areas of the shelter, from childcare to helping women find new homes. Financial and in-kind support is also vitally important for our work. Find out about the many ways you can help support women and children in your community here.