Support Services Society
Sexual Assault Advocacy Centre
Information and Emotional Support Line
Conversations are Confidential*
Monday - Friday 9:00 - 5:00
* limits of confidentiality will be discussed during phone support
Q. How do I know if my relationship is healthy or abusive?
A. Does your partner get jealous of your friends or do they encourage you to have a social life independent of your relationship? Criticize, or celebrate your strengths and unique expressions? Make excuses and blame you for their abusive behaviours or take full responsibility for their actions? Threaten suicide or actively seek help for their own emotional struggles? The dynamics are complex.
Q. What is the abuse doing to me?
A. Do you put yourself down? Defend your partner's abusive behaviours? Lost touch with your friends and family? Keep the abuse secret? Feel overwhelmed, confused, depressed? Think you're crazy? Snap at the kids? Fear no one else will ever love you? Long to tell your partner how you feel but they don't want to hear about it? Domestic violence changes the very spirit Woman entered the world as.
Q. My partner is so charming, who will believe me?
A. Charming in front of others whose approval they need yet ranting and raving behind closed doors is a classic sign of a controlling partner. This behaviour creates allies for our partner and raises doubt for the women experiencing abuse. A woman's connection to outside resources that might assist her to leave are sabotaged. This is deliberate. Women must trust and believe in themselves above all else.
Q. Should I leave the relationship?
A. Does your partner promise to change but never makes a measurable effort? Healing can be a sincere wish on their part but action that is initiated by them is the only path to real change. Being in love with an abusive partner isn't the issue, being in love with our Self is. A loving, nurturing relationship of self-respect is precisely what we need in order to leave a demeaning or toxic relationship. A healthy romantic relationship, the kind we all dream of, is a reflection of the healthy relationship we have with our Self.
I'm Afraid to Talk About it
We live in a culture of silence and victim blaming. These societal attitudes create barriers for women to disclose relationship abuse, sexualized assault or exploitation. Women are shamed for having these experiences. The focus of conversation becomes about her choices rather than the person who chose to abuse. Is it any wonder women and young girls are afraid to talk about abuse?
Who Can I Trust?
Resources specifically trained in gender-based violence that have a feminist analysis of power and control in relationship, who are trauma informed and woman centered with a focus on women's strengths are the ideal professionals to seek out and share your story with.
What if I Don't Like What I Hear?
It's not easy to have confirmation that our relationship is indeed abusive. It means we have to make change and change can be very complicated. Trust your instincts. If it feels like good advice, it probably is. True support is defined by us. It shifts and changes with our needs, is compassionate and practical, non-judgmental, validating, respects our choices and boundaries, believes in us, never tells us what to do nor tries to rescue us.
Should I Call the Police?
The RCMP Domestic Violence Unit is trained to skillfully respond to threats or assaults against women in intimate partner relationships. Sometimes escalating behaviours from our partner puts us at risk of serious harm. A coordinated social response to gender-based violence in the Cowichan Valley is designed to ensure women and children are supported and kept safe, and offenders held accountable while providing support for them as well.
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