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Toronto, ON – March 1, 2016 – The high-profile celebrity abuse cases in 2015 have resulted in a swell of public conversation about the issue of violence against women. While the public has been engaged with the issue, a recent study by Interval House reveals that we still have a long way to go toward changing attitudes about domestic violence.
A new study commissioned by Interval House, Canada’s first shelter for abused women, shows that 37% of Ontarians believe that a person is responsible for the consequences if they choose to stay in a violent relationship. This belief is higher among men (46%) than women.
Victim-blaming is one of the challenges that women face when leaving abusive relationships. “There are many reasons that a woman might choose to stay with her abuser, or to keep in touch with him,” says Arlene McCalla, Executive Co-Director at Interval House. “Often women don’t leave because they fear they will be blamed, not believed, or they have internalized that it is somehow their fault. Ultimately the person responsible for the abuse is the abuser.”
The recent poll, hosted on the Angus Reid Forum, also revealed that that 66% of Ontarians believe that women who say they were abused can be lying or exaggerating. “This statistic is especially troubling,” says McCalla. “It can be terrifying for a woman to come forward, and our first job as supporters is to believe what she is saying, and to understand that leaving an abuser is a difficult decision and a potentially dangerous action.”
As International Women’s Day approaches, it’s time for change. This week Interval House launched the #NotHerFault social media campaign, encouraging everyone to use the #NotHerFault hashtag while sharing these survey results and starting a conversation about domestic violence. For every share, retweet and mention, Wyse Meter Solutions Inc. will donate $5 (up to $2500). Other actions you can take to support women who experience abuse can be found at www.intervalhouse.ca/notherfault.
Disclaimer for opinion polls:
*Methodology: From February 10th to February 12th, 2016 an online survey was conducted among 868 randomly selected adult Ontario residents who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.3%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Ontario. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.
About Interval House
As the first centre for abused women and children in Canada, Interval House is a leader in the campaign for women’s empowerment, providing innovative, specialized services that help abused women and their children transform their lives and break the cycle of violence. Interval House’s holistic approach provides a continuum of services from crisis intervention to re-integration into the workforce and community, giving women and children the chance to rebuild their lives. For more information please visit www.intervalhouse.ca
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