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LETTERS – Don’t mind your business.

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Dear Editor, We’ve been taught at a very young age to mind our own business when it comes to what we may see or hear from our friends, family members and later in life, our co-workers. We believe that what goes on behind closed doors is private and personal. We naturally want to avoid conflict and possible danger as much as possible. Many things we stumble upon regarding other people’s business, such as their financial situations and relationship problems, should remain their business. Domestic violence is not one of them. Domestic violence thrives when victims are isolated. Isolation is a fundamental dynamic of abuse used by abusers to maintain power and control over their victim. Friends, family and co-workers may contribute to the isolation of someone who is surviving violence at home without realizing it. Traumatic events such as domestic violence often cause feelings of shame due to the powerlessness they create which can lead to secrecy and further embed the experience of shame. People who are surviving domestic violence often blame themselves for what is happening. Survivors of domestic violence take the feelings of abuse everywhere they go, including work. Those feelings often impact them in everything they do. They fear that by disclosing what is happening to them they will put their job in jeopardy. They fear being seen as unable to do their job and being financially at risk. The violence they experience follows them into their workplace. Let’s stop minding our own business by learning about the effects of domestic violence on the workplace and what can be done to support people who are experiencing these challenges. Our local Gateway Women’s Centre has a free Working Through Domestic Violence Employer and Employee Training Program. We also provide ongoing support to employers who are looking to implement domestic violence policies and procedures to make their workplaces safe and more equitable for all. If you or someone you know is interested in receiving this training, please reach out to the Gateway Women’s Centre at 709-695-7505 to set up training for your workplace. Sincerely, Mandy Ryan Francis, Program Coordinator Gateway Women’s Centre

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