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How Sask. groups are raising awareness about violence against women

SASKATOON -

Groups across the province are observing the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women to raise awareness and provide education about abuse.

Saskatchewan has the highest rate of intimate partner violence among the provinces and territories. Saskatchewan’s rate is twice the national average, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).

“We want to bring it out of the shadows and have a conversation that will be inspiring and that will allow us to have some hope that we can do things in our personal lives,” said Faith Bodnar, executive director of CMHA’s Saskatoon chapter.

CMHA hosted a virtual event with author and journalist Sally Armstrong. Armstrong discussed her advocacy for the rights of women and girls around the world.

Bodnar says the CMHA offers support to people who may be experiencing abuse as it can often take a toll on women's mental health.

“Trauma and PTSD that results from that fear and isolation and somehow being convinced that perhaps in some cases you might deserve that kind of domestic violence or intimate partner violence that you’re receiving,” said Bodnar.

The Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan (PATHS) held training for family law practitioners to educate them on the dynamics of domestic violence.

“The importance of days like today are not to take anything away from other groups that also experience violence, but to recognize that when violence is directed at women and girls and other marginalized genders there’s a different dynamic in play,” said PATHS executive director Jo-Anne Dusel.

She says when men and boys experience violence it’s often out in the world, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, a result of crime or their own criminal activity.

“The majority of women experiencing family violence are not safe in their own home and the women who are killed as a result of domestic homicide are often killed in their own homes,” said Dusel.

During Violence Prevention Week, starting Nov. 28, PATHS will be hosting online sessions to teach people how they can reach out safely for help when leaving an abusive situation.

According to the United Nations, nearly one in three women have been abused in their lifetime.

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