Ending Domestic Violence – We are All Part of the Solution
"November is Domestic Violence Awareness month in Manitoba – and I, for one, will keep the conversation going about how we can help victims of domestic violence and work towards ending this abuse. We can do it, if we are all part of the solution."
Nov 25, 2016
Think about this statistic: One in three working Canadians have experienced domestic violence.
In 2016, in a world that continues to move forward in so many ways, domestic violence – affecting our families, our friends and our co-workers – persists.
This is something I have spent an increasing amount of time talking about this year. And it all started with Bill 8 - The Employment Standards Code Amendment Act (Leave for Victims of Domestic Violence, Leave for Serious Injury or Illness and Extension of Compassionate Care Leave).
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to present to a legislative standing committee. It was there I pledged my strong support for this legislation and finally told my story about how domestic violence affected my family. My mother and I were both victims, but there was a key difference in our situations. While my mother’s employer was not supportive during the time it took to get her life back on track (ultimately resulting in her losing her job), I was fortunate enough to have an employer who was compassionate and understanding. Because of that, and because of years of family counseling, we broke the cycle of abuse and I was able to keep my family together.
At the end of October, I was a keynote speaker at the New Brunswick Union’s (NBU) women’s luncheon. I was invited to speak about Bill 8 and how it is groundbreaking legislation in Canada. I had several conversations with NBU members on the effect this type of legislation has in the workplace. Like how victims don’t have to worry about losing their jobs while getting legal documents in place. Following the luncheon, word of my presentation spread throughout the biennial convention. Brothers were approaching me looking for more information on the bill and how they could lobby leaders to consider similar legislation.
I also had the pleasure of joining the chair of the MGEU Women’s Committee and a staff member from our education department in Regina for a domestic violence training course earlier this month. The Canadian Labour Congress hosted the two-day conference with participation from many NUPGE affiliates. We learned how to teach our stewards and activists to recognize, deal with and help members that are victims of domestic violence. I’m very excited to share what I learned with our members so we can empower them to help be a part of the solution.
Sharing my personal story isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but I know by doing so, it brings public attention to this issue – not hidden away in a home filled with violence. That is why I’m honoured to be speaking on behalf of the MGEU at Willow Place’s “Changing the Conversation” event later this month. Willow Place is the largest women’s shelter in Manitoba and employs MGEU members. The goal of this event is to bring together community leaders to discuss strategies for ending such violence.
November is Domestic Violence Awareness month in Manitoba –
and I, for one, will keep the conversation going about how we can help victims of
domestic violence and work towards ending this abuse. We can do it, if we are
all part of the solution.
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