Another argument . . . another assault.

When will it ever stop?

It seems mankind was doomed from the beginning when the emotion of anger was doled out on the assembly line. Whoever the creator was didn’t think about the devastating consequences, and now, at this time every year, we are asked to be aware of domestic family violence.

The prevalence of spousal assault and intimate partner violence in our society is alarming. Often these incidents go unreported, so you can be assured that the statistics are much higher than what you see. For example, according to Statistics Canada, there were 127,082 victims of police-reported family violence in 2021, a rate of 336 victims per 100,000 population. This number represented the fifth consecutive year of increase. Women and girls represented two-thirds (nearly 70 per cent) of the victims. Compared with 2019, the year before the pandemic, family violence was four per cent higher in 2021. In the same year, family violence against seniors was eight per cent higher than in 2020.

Who or why would anyone hurt the one they love? Was it a fight over money? A jealous rage? There should never be a reason to raise a hand to your wife or husband. You can lay the blame on the bottle, but that’s a copout. You can lay the blame on drug addiction; another copout. Defence lawyers use this quite regularly to influence sentencing, and unfortunately the courts accept these arguments at face value. But again, what must be understood is there is never a legitimate excuse for domestic violence. 

So where do we go from here? More community outreach to encourage healthy relationships, better access to counselling, more safe houses for women and children, and harsher penalties for offenders. Often women can’t leave an abusive home because they have nowhere else to go. The money is there, the food is there, they have a roof over their head; that security is hard to leave behind. It seems every neighbourhood has one – an angry man with an addiction who slaps his partner around. The police are often called but nothing is done. The two are separated for a while and then get back together to start the vicious cycle all over again. She does and doesn’t want to leave. She probably dreams of a better life, asking why she can’t have a “normal” relationship in a nice house with a white picket fence. This dream is all too often shattered by violence. It’s very sad.

If you see anyone caught in the domestic violence cycle, please reach out to them and offer support. 

VictimLinkBC is a toll-free, confidential, multilingual service available across B.C. 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call or text 1-800-563-0808 or send an email to [email protected].

Lyonel Doherty, editor