Violence Against Women:
“The Silent Crime”
If you or someone you know needs help, call us:
Violence against women cuts across all racial, social, cultural, economic, political and religious backgrounds. All women by virtue of their gender are vulnerable to violence and abuse. A great number of violent related incidents in communities go unreported. It is important to understand what is meant by violence against women.
Violence against women or woman assault is the intent by the husband/partner to intimidate the woman, either by threat or by the use of physical and verbal abuse, or to destroy her property. The intent of the assault is to exercise power and control over the woman. There are different types of abuse. They include physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, threat, intimidation, manipulation, stalking, economic deprivation, use of male privilege, use of children and isolation; and it could even lead to murder. Many women have been murdered by their intimate partners. Children witness these types of abuse most of the times. It negatively impacts on their mental health and physical well being directly and indirectly.
“Violence against women is a crime and must be treated as such”
Nobody deserves to be abused. Women in abusive relationships are encouraged to leave for a safe environment such as a shelter or to seek out support in the community. It is not something to be ashamed of because:
- You are not the cause of the problem.
- You have the right not to be abused.
- You are not alone.
- Abuse happens to women from different cultural, racial, sexual orientation, socio-economic, educational and ethnic backgrounds.
Many women feel that if they are not being hurt physically then they are not being abused. This is common yet incorrect assumption. Abuse can occur in many forms but the most common are physical, verbal, emotional and sexual. Another common assumption is that only one’s husband or partner is capable of abuse. Again this is not true, abuse can (and often does) come from a brother, sister, cousin, uncle, a boss, a friend, care-giver, mother-in-law or father in-law, a child, a landlord, a person in position of authority and a complete stranger. Ask yourself the following: Is there someone in you life that:
- Slaps, punches, or kicks you
- Makes fun of the way you look or what you wear
- Threatens to have you deported
- Harms or threatens to harm your children
- Harms or threatens to harm your pets
- Forces you to give up your paycheck
- Withholds or hides things you need like medicine or important documents
- Locks up food in the house
- Damages your personal property
- Forbids you to talk to your family or friends
- Follows you and /or tries to monitor your every move
- Threatens to kill you
- Forces you to have sex or do things against your wish
- Calls you demeaning names
If you answered yes to one or more of these question you are experiencing abuse.
Abuse knows no economic, cultural, social or geographic boundaries. Immigrant and non-immigrant women tell of similar violent experiences of pain, fear, and isolation suffered at the hands of their abusers. However, immigrant women have even fewer resources they can turn to for assistance. In most cases they are in the country with their abusers and have no family support network.
You can expect to speak with a counsellor or social worker whose first concern will be the safety of you and your children. The counsellor or social worker will be understanding and non-judgmental. She will work with you to help you deal with the violence and abuse you experienced, discuss your circumstances and provide options, find resources, and to help you to plan and achieve your goals to re-build and establish yourself in the community.
Abusive men come from all walks of life – doctors, cab drivers, lawyers, restaurant workers, businessmen, bankers, engineers, computer programmers, shopkeepers, diplomats, and entertainers. They can be young or old, rich or low-income, and of all religious faiths and educational levels. They can be fathers, brothers, uncles, friends, neighbours and co-workers. What they share in common, however, is a belief that they can exert “power and control” over their intimate partners, and that this behavior is justifiable.
Through our work we have learned that abusers can change. The abuse that they perpetrate against their partners is learned behaviour and therefore can be unlearned. Abusers however can change only if they first accept responsibility for their behavior and hold themselves accountable by choosing and learning new ways of communicating with their partner and dealing with their angers through professional help.
Given the size of our organization, it will not always be possible to speak with a counsellor or social worker who speaks your language. However, we will take the necessary steps to ensure that someone who speaks your language is made available. This person can help you articulate your needs.
All services at WMRCC are free and confidential!
WMRCC is staffed from 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday excluding holidays. We can also see you on the weekends and evenings but you must call to arrange for this. If there is no one in the office you can leave a message and we will call you back. If you are in immediate danger please call 911 or the Assaulted Women’s Help Line at (416) 863-0511.
Suppose I am illegal in Canada will you report me to the police or to the immigration? No., Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Toronto or Durham Regional Police Services are separate organizations. Everyone, regardless of her or his immigration status, is entitled to seek legal protection against family violence or violence against women. If the police inquires about your immigration status, try to answer that you are “Working on your Immigration Issues.”
While the majority of our service users are minority, immigrant and refugee women, we do not discriminate against any one seeking service on the basis of race, culture, nationality, religious background, sexual orientation, class, age or ability.
Women from diverse backgrounds, immigrant and refugee women encounter multiple barriers in our society. WMRCC of Durham uses holistic approach in delivering services to women. WMRCC specializes in women’s programs, youth and children. The organization provides culturally sensitive counselling, support, crisis intervention and re-integration of women in the community. WMRCC works with both service users and service providers in attempt to address these issues and supports the capacity of organizations and individuals working to end violence in the lives of all women.
Due to safety reasons, men are asked to make prior arrangements before visiting the centre. We do however use a holistic approach in working with survivors of violence which means we take into consideration all members of a woman’s family when intervening on behalf of a woman who is experiencing abuse and other challenges. Also, there are other ways men can get involved in the work of the agency. Please contact us for details.
- denounce oppression
- reach out to women in your community
- be an advocate especially if you become aware a family member, a neighbour or a friend is in abusive situation, connect her with community resources
- volunteer or join local women’s organization working to end violence against women and young women
- stand up for social justice