By Brent Woodard 

Anglican/ United Church

Years ago, I received material from the larger United Church that could be used in a worship service on the topic of women living with violence and abuse. 

I used some of the material on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. The next week a woman with three children asked to speak to me about the violence and abuse she experienced from her male partner. It was a terrible situation. She was obviously suffering, feeling trapped, and not knowing who to talk with or what her options were. I was grateful that the church had equipped me to ‘break the silence,’ and that by doing so this woman had taken a step of reaching out. 

I am grateful for the people in my life now who continue to make me aware of how important this issue is and of the fine resources that are available for women and for those who care about them. 

I was struck last year when I heard on the news an RCMP officer in the Maritimes say, “the abuse of women in relationships has become epidemic here.” It’s a big problem. In 2018, 44 per cent of women in Canada who had ever been in an intimate partner relationship reported experiencing some kind of psychological, physical, or sexual abuse. 

I find it helpful to learn that there are many different types of abuse. The obvious one is physical, but the less obvious ones can be more hurtful and crippling. Financial, psychological, verbal, sexual, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, social and using children and pets.

Often the man blames the woman for the abuse he dishes out. Often the man is experienced differently in public than he is experienced in private. 

Often there is a cycle of behaviour, where the man is in a better mood and way of behaving for a while but then cycles into a lower mood and way of behaving. It often leaves the woman unsure and unsafe – walking on eggshells. 

Most people do not go to church, but it is important that we in churches do not create an environment that supports abuse in relationships. We need to be educated about the many aspects of this matter. 

I’m grateful to have been made aware of the book “When Love Hurts” by Jill Cory and Karen McAndless-Davis. It can be ordered through the library, a local bookstore or online. 

I believe it could be a great relief for a woman in an abusive relationship to read. Of course, there are people in the community who are able to help. 

Local support, resources and counselling can be accessed through Family Dynamix at 250-341-3963 (Call Monday-Thursday from 9 to 3:30). 1-800-200-3003 is a 24/7 line to call for emergency help in getting out and being safe.