Why do we have to keep having conversations about relationship violence?

Mon, Dec 4, 2017

Relationship violence is never OK.

In the wake of the Matt Lauer and Harvey Weinstein allegations, sexual assault and domestic violence has been the trending topic of conversation on social media with the viral hashtag #metoo sparking stories from women across the globe sharing their stories of violence and assault.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships (NEVR) is working to change attitudes towards violence in relationships while supporting victims and families.

“Our work is not done. A woman is killed every six days in Canada by her partner,” said NEVR facilitator Dr. Balbir Gurm, who is also a nursing instructor at KPU. “We need to continue having conversations around relationship violence in order to work towards eliminating violence in our communities.”

During the internationally recognized 16 days of activism against gender based violence, Nov. 25 to Dec. 10, NEVR, in collaboration with the Union of National Employees, is holding a candlelight vigil on Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m. in Holland Park to honour the victims of the Montreal massacre. Fourteen roses will be laid on the ground by KPU students in remembrance of the women who were gunned down in an anti-feminist attack during the École Polytechnique massacre in 1989. 

Earlier in November, NEVR hosted the Healthy Families: Pathways to Resilience conference at KPU. The theme for this year’s conference was to share programs that create resilience. Agency representatives from healthcare, government, social work and education gathered to hear about and share evidenced-based information and practices being implemented to combat relationship violence. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau shared words of encouragement and support with a video message, and B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel McKenzie was the keynote speaker.

“I think we all have a story or know someone with a story of being assaulted, violated, and shamed,” said Gurm. “It’s too common to ignore, but it’s not too late to get help. There are crisis lines, shelters, counsellors, social workers, police, the court system and a host of other services who are working together to help survivors of domestic abuse and make our communities safer.”

NEVR is a community-based project operating out of KPU that focuses on all types of relationship violence (physical, sexual, emotional, financial) and its effects on all members of family as well as the cost to society in the Surrey community. Its purpose is to eliminate relationship violence by sharing resources and collaborating among service providers, community leaders, educators and government bodies. Learn more by visiting kpu.ca/nevr.

Story by Tatiana Tomljanovic