Friday, Sept. 23, I had an opportunity to attend the annual “Take Back the Night” walk and presentation, sponsored by the Violence Awareness and Prevention Committee, operating under Community Policing.
One participant representing community policing commented to me that the turnout was very small compared to previous years.
Could this be because it has lost relevance or the way that family violence is portrayed?
I think not, considering the challenge our community and its leaders are facing, trying to eliminate our reputation as a community where violence is out of control. Addressing family violence is both important and relevant, and in the best interest of the entire community.
So maybe it is our approach that has fatigued and lulled us into complacency.
The main presenter, from Community Victim Services, recognized women and children as victims of family violence and celebrated the survivors.
However, at no time did she specifically mention men or men and their children as victims of family violence.
Is this how we send a clear message that violence will not be tolerated?
Statistics Canada 2009 shows that men who report spousal assaults outnumber women. I have been told that this is also true of our community.
However, we have been led to believe only women are victims of family violence.
It has also been my experience that victim services and others that operate in the victim industry recognize only women as victims.
Any recognition of men as victims is coincidental or reluctant.
This is evident by the services provided to men, or lack thereof.
This is further evident in all of the literature or self-help pamphlets, websites, etc. that portray only women as victims.
Violent perpetrators can be changed, healed, and be healthy members of families and our community, but first they must be recognized and held accountable.
We must also recognize all victims, not just a select few.
We can never change family violence unless we approach it differently, inclusive of all stakeholders.
Family violence is a human issue, a community issue, not a gender issue.
Until we recognize that, get used to more of the same.
Robert P. Boate