Violence Prevention Grey Bruce

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Women Abuse Prevention Month

By Jessica St.Peter, Public Education and Volunteer Coordinator, WHSBG

With decades, if not centuries, of raising awareness of this issue, many of us need not look beyond our own life story to be aware of the prevalence, impact and severity of violence against women, girls and 2SLGBTQAI+ folks.  Woman Abuse is the term used to draw attention to the gendered nature of gender-neutral terms such as family violence, domestic violence and intimate partner violence. November is Woman Abuse Prevention Month (WAPM), previously known as Woman Abuse Awareness Month, but the time has come to highlight the urgency of prevention.

This month is not about dismissing the importance of gender-based violence (GBV) prevention as a whole. GBV includes harmful acts directed at an individual based on their gender, and it is the types of abuse and violence that women, girls, and Two Spirit, trans and non-binary people are at highest risk of experiencing. It can take physical and emotional forms, such as: name-calling, hitting, pushing, blocking, stalking/criminal harassment, rape, sexual assault, control, and manipulation. WAPM it is about acknowledging the continued prevalence of gender inequality, violence against women and the increasing number of femicides.

As an agency dedicated to increasing our intersectional lens and application, utilizing words that are reflective of various forms of intersecting identities, oppressions and barriers are essential, but we still need to highlight the systemic inequality of women and give credit to the women before us that responded to this injustice, historically and ongoing. An awareness of the compounding layers that intersectionality focuses on, ensures as service providers and feminists we realize the different experiences and impacts of violence. These differences require us to differentiate our approaches to support and programming to best reflect all communities within Bruce and Grey.

WAPM highlights the importance of action and our collective responsibility to respond to what has always been seen as a “private” issue. This can mean:

  • supporting local violence against women organizations and events,
  • learning the facts, unpacking preconceived ideas,
  • challenging myths,
  • knowing what services are available and how to access them,
  • knowing the warning signs,
  • educating ourselves on how to be supportive in our responses to disclosures,
  • being critical of the language we use,
  • taking accountability for harm we have caused.

Here are some of the ways you can help a survivor when you recognize the warning signs of violence:

  • Talk to them about what you see and tell them that you are concerned. If they disclose domestic violence, tell them you believe them and that it is not their fault.
  • Encourage them not to confront their partner if they are planning to leave. Explain that a safety plan is vital and that WHSBG can help
  • Encourage them to pack a small bag with important items and keep it stored at your home in case they need it.
  • Offer to provide childcare and/or pet care while they seek help.
  • Offer your home as a safe haven to them, their children and/or pets. If they accept your offer, do not let their partner or ex-partner in.
  • Know that you or the person you’re concerned about can call WHSBG’s 24 H Crisis Line 1-800-265-3026

If the person you are concerned about denies the domestic violence:

  • Assure them that they can talk to you any time.
  • Don’t become angry or frustrated with their decisions. It is important to understand that they may be afraid or not ready to take the next steps.
  • Try to understand why they might be having difficulty getting help. They may feel ashamed.
  • Offer to go with the person you are concerned about if they need additional information or support.
  • If they have children, gently let the person you are concerned about know that you are worried about their own and their children’s safety and emotional well-being. They may be more willing to recognize their situation if they recognize that their children may also be in danger.

Women’s House Serving Bruce and Grey’s Public Educator wants to support you in this journey to collective change. If you, your community groups and workplaces want to increase your participation in being a part of the solution, get involved and reach out to

Raising awareness about WAPM in your networks, verbally or online, can make a difference. You never know who in your network maybe struggling, and see your pledges for change and action and know you will believe them and support them in their healing, accountability for harm or desire to join you in making a difference.


Help spread this message

We are leading the way to a safer community.

Our shared vision is an inclusive community where all people live their lives free from all forms of violence and oppression, and have equal access to the best of what the community has to offer.

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