Jane Sterk quotes the disturbing statistic that the Cowichan Valley has the highest level of domestic violence in the province.
The fact that we’re tied for this ignominious top spot with one other area is not even cold comfort, it’s no comfort at all.
This has been the case for years now, and the problem is one that will obviously not be solved overnight, with any amount of money.
But we were encouraged to hear about the new $120,000 in funding coming to the Cowichan Valley to help combat this persistent problem.
Specifically, the money coming from the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation is going to First Nations groups and programs that take aim at domestic violence.
Clearly these programs are much needed to stop the cycle of violence. Because we do know that kids who are subject to or witness violence in their homes have a higher risk of going on to have relationships that mirror what they know.
The biggest single chunk of funding, $70,000, will go to the Hiilye’yu Lelum Friendship Centre and focuses on dads.
When we talk about domestic violence and funding programs it’s often focused on assisting women to escape abusive relationships.
This is vital, to be sure, as the $25,000 for a Cowichan Tribes program to bring awareness and understanding of domestic violence to people experiencing abuse attests.
But if we want to get at the root of the problem and snuff it out, we need to look at the other side of the equation too: men.
If we do not address men on this subject we will never get anywhere.
Before anyone gets upset, yes, we realize that women can also be perpetrators of domestic violence. But by far the greatest number of perpetrators are men, and if we do not acknowledge this fact, we cannot properly address the problem.
That’s why we desperately need programs like the one being funded that offers parenting help for dads who have perpetrated violence. If we don’t teach them a better way the cycle continues.
This funding represents hope that things can get better.