Be the one who listens to a victim of family violence

Guests at the recent Riseup Society “Dancing with the Stars” evening Nov. 19 spent a few minutes listening to a presentation...

“Dancing with the Stars” keynote speaker Elena Esina spoke for a few minutes about how family violence touches virtually every person in Alberta

Guests at the recent Riseup Society “Dancing with the Stars” evening Nov. 19 spent a few minutes listening to a presentation about why such organizations are needed across this region.

While the evening was intended as a fun night of dancing, keynote speaker Elena Esina spoke for a few minutes about how family violence touches virtually every person in Alberta, and everyone can be ready to help.

Esina, who is part of the SHIFT project, a University of Calgary effort to end domestic violence, is also a social worker who’s spent the last four years researching domestic violence and has had friends approach her for help as they live in a violent environment.

She said family violence is pervasive in Alberta, and the majority of victims are women, while the majority of abusers are men. Family violence is expensive to society and doesn’t have to occur. “It is fully preventable,” she said to the audience.

The keynote speaker said every person in the ballroom knows a victim of sexual abuse or domestic violence. She also pointed out the vast majority of women living in a violent situation go to their friends, family and confidents and only about 15 per cent go to the police.

She related an experience while living in Europe some years ago when a friend of hers came to her for help. The friend arrived in the early hours of the morning, and was bruised and obviously assaulted. However, the friend would not leave the relationship.

After moving to Canada, Esina said she was herself taking a class for newcomers to Canada. While there, another woman taking the class confided to Esina she was living in danger; Esina said she barely knew this woman, illustrating how those in abusive relationships may seek out or confide in someone they trust or someone they think cares about their problem.

“You’re the number one resource for them,” said Esina. “They go to you.”

Riseup Society executive director Jacqueline Biollo noted the society’s resources serve women in the Wetaskiwin County, Millet and Leduc County areas. She said Esina’s message was a powerful addition to the evening. “Again, there is a serious message to any event,” said Biollo by phone Nov. 21.

“Don’t be afraid to be that person who is there for friends and colleagues.”

The keynote speaker pointed out abuse can take many forms: psychological, emotional, verbal, medical, economic and many others.

A positive response can prevent domestic violence from happening. “I hope you’re asking yourself…how do I do it?”

Esina said if you’re that trusted confidant that an abused woman comes to, be non-judgmental, be open, use a soft voice, listen and be empathetic.

“Finally, believe her,” said Esina. “Tell her abuse is wrong and not her fault.”

Video clip: http://blackpress.tv/video.php?id=19169

Just Posted

Millet Fish and Game celebrates 30 years

Three decades marked with awards banquet, charity fundraiser

Red Deer will officially be the home of the Canadian Finals Rodeo

CFR has potential to bring in an economic impact of $20-30 million

UPDATE: Highway 2 lanes were closed due to milk truck fire near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Major announcement planned for Tuesday at Westerner Park

Hopes are that the CFR will be relocating to Red Deer

Highway contractor announces bankruptcy Jan. 16

Carillion says financial woes will not affect operations in Alberta

Season opener ice race

Ice races held annually on Pigeon Lake

Suspected Toronto serial killer targeting gay community arrested

A 66-year-old man is charged with first-degree murder in disappearance of two Toronto men

Barenaked Ladies, Steven Page, to be inducted into Canadian Music Hall of Fame

Canadian band to get top honours at 2018 JUNO Awards

B.C. out of the running for Amazon’s next headquarters

Toronto is the only Canadian city left in the running despite the province backing Metro Vancouver’s bid for new Amazon headquarters

Post interest rate hike debt tips

What to do about your debt and mortgages after the interest rate hike

Foreign workers sleeping in Alberta Burger King basement

Alberta Health Services said its inspectors found foreign workers sleeping in the basement of the Lethbridge restaurant

Court application halts release of bread price-fixing documents

Bread price-fixing documents won’t be unsealed Thursday, Loblaw says

Pharrell and N.E.R.D to headline NBA All-Star halftime show

11-time Grammy winner Pharrell and his hip hop-rock band N.E.R.D. will headline the halftime show at the 2018 NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles

Heritage Minister wants zero tolerance for harassment in entertainment industry

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly had two meetings to discuss harassment in the film, TV and theatre worlds

Most Read