Episode 12

Understanding Abuse in Intimate Relationships - Part 1


March 16th, 2019

19 mins 40 secs

Season 1

Your Hosts

About this Episode

Domestic violence is not a private matter even though the vast majority of it happens behind closed doors or in the intimate personal language of couples. It is a devastating reality for many Canadian families that cuts across all social, economic, religious, cultural groups. Consequently, abuse in intimate relationships carries an enormous financial and human cost. This type of abuse involves the intent to intimidate or control a woman by someone she has an intimate, familiar or romantic relationship. It encompasses physical, sexual, financial, emotional, and spiritual abuse. Canadian statistics (2007) indicate that 23% of all police reported violent crimes can be attributed to family violence. The vast majority (83%) of victims of spousal abuse are women who most frequently report they have been pushed, slapped, and punched. The next most frequently reported offence is major assault which involves using a weapon or results in bodily harm. Every week, 1 – 2 women in Canada die at the hands of their current or former partner. Although it is not always the case, women are more likely than men to become physically injured by a violent spouse. In general, spousal homicides of women outnumber spousal homicides of men by a rate of more than 2 to 1. Rates in Canada of female victims over a 30 year period (1975 to 2004) was 2,178 compared to 638 male victims (Canadian Psychological Association, 2010) Stats Canada (2011) reports the rate of spousal homicide is about three times higher against women than against men. In the following vignette, you will be introduced to Irene Gabinet, a clinical counsellor with over 20 years experience in working with women in abusive relationships. In this first instalment of her two-part series, Ms. Gabinet will cover the challenging dynamics of domestic violence and she will review the many barriers of leaving such relationships. Viewers will be provided with valuable information which will enhance their understanding of the impact of abuse. Questions for Further Consideration: 1. What would you do if a caller on the crisis/distress line reports she is in immediate danger of being abused by her partner? Firstly, you need to know what the protocols are for your centre. Each centre will have detailed procedures as to how to connect the caller with safe options. It is a good idea to review these procedures every few months, especially if these calls do not come to your centre very often. Do you know if there are women’s shelters in your community? Do you know how to contact them if needed? If your caller is not in immediate danger but is exploring future options, it is valuable to know what the resources there are in your community. She may have a very limited time on the phone and may need information in a timely manner. If you are not aware of nearby shelters, discuss the need for this information with your training coordinator. Have you ever felt frustrated that victims seldom followed through with leaving their perpetrator so ask yourself “what is the point in going through the effort”? Remember that some of the victim’s behaviour is based on fear of the perpetrator, lack of confidence, or possibly being isolated for a long period of time from family supports. Outside contacts and obtaining information can become next to impossible for the victim. Some victims come to believe the perpetrator when they are told them if they leave, they will not be able to support themselves and/or leaving will lead to negative retribution for themselves or for those around her. It may take several attempts or years before they can actually leave. Each time they reach out is a step closer to safer solutions. *Full References available through DCO offices.