She could be your best player.
With you, she’s strong and silent. At home, she feels weak and helpless.
She never misses practice, even though nobody ever seems to drop her off or pick her up.
She always wears a long sleeve under her jersey, so you don’t see the finger-shaped bruises she’s covering up.
She sometimes seems reluctant to go home after practice, but she knows if she told you why, she and her little brother could get taken away and separated —and she can never let that happen again.
So she hides, because nobody would ever understand if she told them.
Domestic abuse in children can be extremely difficult to identify as many children are effective at hiding what they witness. They are likely being told not to tell. They may be scared that if they do tell someone, their mother will be hurt more. They may be threatened with having their pets harmed or killed. Sometimes their toys and possessions get destroyed. Last but not least, they may be fearful for their own lives.
The tragic reality of the work we do is that we don’t always succeed in reaching women and children in need on time. In week 5 of this campaign, we mentioned that 77% of domestic violence-related homicides occur upon separation. Approximately every 6 days a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner, and some of these instances are part of another tragic occurrence called familicide.
Also called “family annihilation”, familicide is a type of murder or murder-suicide that includes killing the partner as well as children, and in about half of these cases, the killer takes their own life.
According to this article by the Sage Journals, “…the most documented familicidal motivations were triggered by an intimate partner leaving or threatening to leave the relationship (Duwe, 2004; Liem & Reichelmann, 2014). In such cases, the perpetrator often committed familicide as a form of revenge, and the children were killed because he wanted to further harm the mother or because he saw them as an extension of her (Jaffe et al., 2014; Liem & Reichelmann, 2014).” This is the perpetrator’s last attempt at keeping control, which we know, is at the very core of all types of domestic abuse.
At the Kelowna Women’s Shelter, we offer many types of support to the women and children who stay in our transition and second-stage housing as well as providing support through our programs and outreach in the community.
Every day in this country, children are being abused. They may be your child’s friend, classmate, they may be your student, neighbour, or someone you coach in a sport. Whether abused directly or abused indirectly -by witnessing the abuse of their mother- every one of these children is suffering.
And it is Hidden in Plain Sight.
Help us bring these hidden Domestic Abuse issues into sight….donate today!