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LETTERS – Gender-based violence stats staggering.

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Dear Editor, Approximately 5,727 women and girls in the region of Stephenville to Channel-Port aux Basques are currently dealing with domestic abuse. Domestic violence occurs everyday, whether we see it or not. Although anyone can experience domestic violence, Statistics Canada states that women, girls and gender-diverse people are at the highest risk of becoming a survivor or victim of domestic abuse. National stats show that four in 10 women experience domestic abuse (40 per cent) within their lifetime. With 14,319 females in this area in 2020, we believe that 5,727 survivors is accurate. To visualize this, the Bruce II Sports Centre ice surface could be filled over three times with female survivors who have experienced or are currently experiencing violence in their daily lives. The number could be even larger in parts of Newfoundland and Labrador, such as our own community, considering that not all abuse goes reported and that women in rural and remote areas are at a higher risk of experiencing domestic violence. The recent events of COVID-19 caused an increase in reported domestic violence. Two deadly risk factors of domestic violence are isolation and unemployment. The lay-offs, lockdowns, stress and work from home setting during 2020 translated to a woman being killed by a current or former intimate partner every 2.5 days, increasing from what was usually every 6 days. Highlighting the statistics is important because the more people are aware of the situation, the more people can be provided with resources that can help. Overall, domestic violence can affect anyone, even those living right next door. If you or someone you know is looking for support, resources or referrals, please reach out to the Gateway Women’s Centre at 709-695-7505. Sincerely, Charlotte Osmond Summer Student, Gateway Women’s Centre

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