Shirley Parkinson was murdered by her husband of 27 years in Oct. 2014. Her family is speaking about her death in hopes of raising awareness. It has been brought to light that six women have been murdered by their male partners in the last year in Saskatchewan.
I appreciated Piya Chatopadhyay’s coverage of this story on The Current. Here is the one piece that is missing for me though. When we focus only on the physical aspect of woman abuse, we are missing the bigger picture and the reality for most women who are experiencing abuse. Abuse can take many forms and all of them are devastating in women’s lives. My co-author and I have been supporting women who have experienced abuse for over 20 years and this is what women have taught us. All forms of abuse – emotional, social, financial, sexual, physical, etc. all destroy women’s lives. For most women, who experience abuse, the main forms of abuse they experience are the non-physical types of abuse. Most abusive men realize that while there may be consequences if they hit their partners, there will not be consequences if they control their partners in other ways. Some of the most controlled women, with the fewest options are women who are experiencing extreme financial, emotional, and social control. Often these women never experience physical abuse.
Most of the women we support end up developing serious health issues (migraines, high blood pressure, panic attacks etc.) Many of the women we support also consider at some point suicide as they see it as the only way out of the relationship.
When we focus only on the physical part of abuse, women who are in fact experiencing abuse think that they are not really experiencing abuse because “it is not that bad”. Meanwhile these women are suffering in the extreme and feeling trapped with no options.
If you are a woman who is experiencing any form of abuse in your relationship, we would encourage you to keep looking at our website. We have put lots of helpful information here. We would urge you to take the abuse you are experiencing seriously and seek the support you very much deserve.
Jill Cory and Karen McAndless-Davis.