She sat there, huddled in a corner of her room, hugging her Teddy, tears rolling down her cheeks. It was no use covering her ears. She could still hear the blows and her mother’s screams. Why did Daddy have to drink? Whenever he did, he hurt Mommy. Why didn’t someone stop Daddy from hurting Mommy? What would happen if she told somebody? Ineffable fear filled her. Daddy would get mad.
November is Family Violence Prevention Month in Alberta, Canada.
What is family violence?
“Family violence is when a family member is threatening, controlling and abusive towards another family member.” It can happen between:
- adults in a family – for example, between partners or spouses, between adult children and parents, or between extended family members
- adults who used to be in a family – for example, between former partners or spouses.
Family violence is an umbrella term used to describe all the different types of violence that can happen in families.
Sadly, family violence is under reported because of the stigma associated with it. Young children may not report it because they are limited by the number of contacts outside of their family whom they feel safe confiding in. Maybe they feel that no one will believe them or that they would get into trouble if they say anything. Children should never be exposed to any type of violence or live in fear. The home should be a safe and loving environment for them.
Family violence hurts everyone. What is being done about it? Community Initiatives against Family Violence (CIAFV) member agencies are helping families by, “providing assistance in areas such as housing, transportation, counselling, advocacy, employment and safety planning, CIAFV member agencies provide essential services to families experiencing family violence, which greatly increase the chances of people experiencing abuse and their families moving forward into safer, healthier lives. Friends and family members of people experiencing family violence can often feel helpless. A supportive, non-judgemental listening ear and a commitment to always be there are often the best ways to help.”
I encourage you to read as much information as possible about Family Violence and see what you can do to help.
Family violence is a public health issue, a criminal justice issue, and a human rights issue. Family Violence Hurts! Speak Up! – Stop Family Violence