World peace is a worthy concept, but first we need to get our own houses in order. Domestic violence continues to be a problem in Nanaimo, and even if it’s a problem everywhere, that’s no reason why we should ever accept it.
Nanaimo RCMP respond to about 1,000 domestic violence calls per year in the city. Just as troubling as that figure is the knowledge that there are other incidents going unreported. Sometimes those can be the scariest situations, where victims are too fearful to say a word.
Domestic violence was prominent in the news this month as a pro football player was caught on video knocking out his fiancée, and was subsequently kicked out of the league.
It created dialogue across the continent about abusive relationships, why women stay in them, and how they can leave. Domestic violence is despicable, though the issues and emotions that stem from it are sometimes complicated.
Haven Society has a handle on some of those issues and emotions. The Nanaimo non-profit would like to work with police, including the RCMP’s Community Victim Services, the Provincial Office of Domestic Violence and other social agencies as part of a proposed domestic violence unit.
Increased community co-operation could allow all involved to deal more effectively with high-risk cases, then support and encourage victims who might be hesitant to make statements to police or testify in court. It’s crucial that the system works and that there’s a transition plan in place for victims, because women need to be able to see a way out.
For those women reluctant to speak up, we hope this new unit can help to speak for them, because it speaks for the rest of us. We all agree domestic abuse is abhorrent and atavistic. We hope the men at fault get their comeuppance, but more so, we hope that for these women who are hurt, things will get better.