The Estevan chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women recently celebrated International Women's Day by hosting an event that featured a panel discussion and a guest speaker.
The event focused on moving beyond relationship violence, creating healthy relationships and studying partner abuse in the community.
The panel featured six participants who have encountered domestic violence in different forms: Sun Country Health Region Addictions Services manager Garry Tedford, Estevan Comprehensive School social worker Jody Tweed, Estevan Police Service Sergeant Kevin Reed, local author Dee Dee Chomyk, Envision Counselling and Support Centre volunteer Lorelei Lachambre, and Alternatives to Violence Program representative Rod Watson.
They drew on their own experiences to answer questions and exchange ideas that focused on three issues: the current situation and the associated challenges for domestic violence in the community; things that are being done or need to be done in the home and through various agencies to educate people about the need for healthy relationships; and things that are being done, or need to be done, to work with purpetrators so they can build healthy relationships.
Diane Delaney, the coordinator for the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services, was the keynote speaker at the event. She discussed her research on the origins of violence and strategies for change.
“It's true that anyone can experience violence, that's for sure, but certain groups are vulnerable than others,” said Delaney.
Over the last 20 years, unequal power relations and oppressive social structures have served as the framework on violence for the past 20 years.
“We need to broaden our understanding if we're ever going to find solutions to this problem,” said Delaney.
If a non-violent society is going to be reached, Delaney said they need to address four different quadrants. She admits it's a utopian system, but Delaney said they can't focus on one section any more.
Those four areas are:
*Security: The idea of how society raises children, and the value of babies attaching to a consistent caregiver;
*Values and morality: The concepts, philosophies and religious teachings of non-violence that affect our ethical decision making;
*Equality: Delaney says violence in a community is connected to financial inequality. It's not an income issue, but if wealth is shared equally, violence is less likely to exist.
*Knowledge: Events like the one hosted by the University Women's Club help fulfill the knowledge quadrant. It helps people understand the nature of violence and the issues.