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International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women 

November 23, 2023   ·   0 Comments

As some may be aware, I have written about Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner Violence before, and I have made and donated a wall quilt to Family Transition Place earlier this year, which was raffled off to raise funds directly for victims entering the shelter. This coming January, another quilt will be put up for raffle, this time, a queen-sized bed quilt titled ‘From Tradition to Non-tradition.’ It’s purpose, again, is to raise funds for the direct needs of victims coming into our women’s shelter. Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) are words describing gender-based violence towards women perpetrated by male partners/spouses. But they are words only until it happens to you personally. 

Victims are often asked, “why did you stay, why did you put up with it, why didn’t you just leave?” And the answer to that is complex. Speaking personally of my own experience, I can say that just because you experience Intimate Partner Violence does not mean you always stop loving the person perpetrating it. And then, admitting to yourself before you admit to others that this is what you are living with can also be very difficult. And very painful. When abuse begins, it’s shocking and very unsettling, frightening as well, yet we sometimes try to find a reason for that person abusing us… Maybe they are experiencing stress themselves, perhaps job related, retirement from a job which they felt passionate about, or maybe they are mentally unwell for some reason. But then, when the abuse continues, becomes more intense, the anger is always there, focused upon us, threatening us, there comes despair. Calling the police can mean the victim will be threatened even more. Victims are broken, in mind, in body, in spirit.

Recently I have created a trilogy on Intimate Partner Violence with my textile work, trying to put a visual ‘face’ to this deeply troubling issue in order to bring public awareness to it. The first I call “Coercive Control”, and the second, “The Porch, Opening the Door to Recovery”. Yet, I knew that there was one more to be made, that of portraying abuse visually. It is titled “The Closed Fist: Addressing Abuse. How does one portray abuse visually? Through words and images. And then, in the middle of one night, the words came to me: “When kindness turns into cruelty; when love turns into hatred, it is time to leave, you are no longer safe”. They are embroidered on my wall quilt.

Please be mindful of November 25th, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Now it is time that our Federal and Provincial governments stepped forth to create new laws and pass Bill C-332 for the protection of women in gender-based violence by men and to create the laws beneath this bill upon which the police and the courts can act to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes. Sadly, it will not eliminate it.

Sandra Small Proudfoot

Mono, Ontario


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