06 Jun DV, DV, DV…
By Krista Tabone, SA Services Coordinator
Domestic Violence is a concept requiring sincere attention within our society. Depending on one’s background, the term may breed sympathy, empathy, fear, anger, or tough reflection on causes and solutions. It’s a loaded term, which sparks many emotions, concerns, and debates.
Those of us who are privileged enough to work with victims and survivors of DV, derive an enormous sense of admiration, pride, and ultimately care from our interaction with these resilient and inspiring human beings. However, we also experience frustration, concern, and even anger towards the limitations faced in helping victims of DV regain control over their lives.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend three local Domestic Violence events in a mere five days. All were very interesting, all were very well-attended by experts and dedicated professionals in the field, and all provoked very interesting discussions. We spoke of issues such as care and custody, housing, psychological support, social support, health care, support for children, emotional violence,psychological violence, stalking, sexual violence, support services, services for perpetrators of DV… The list goes on.
Each event was as thought-provoking as the last, each speaker was as well versed as the previous, and at the end of each event, practitioners circulated amongst themselves, continuing to discuss the topics addressed. I’m always astonished by the sheer passion and dedication of my colleagues in this field. The manner in which they fight tooth and nail for the rights of their clients is admirable and exemplary.
However, I couldn’t fail to notice that as time goes by, and people continue to fight for the rights of DV victims, at every conference, event, seminar and lecture that takes place in the country, some of the hope for change seems to fade. I’ve been working in the field of victim support for three years, and I, myself, have grown tired and disheartened about the lack of change that I’ve seen with reference to the very real and immediate problems suffered by victims of DV. And I am just a beginner in the field! There are veterans in the field of DV who keep on fighting the very same battles as 10, 20, 30 years ago, today.
My feelings at the end of this jam-packed week of events were of admiration towards these veterans, frustration for myself and others working in the field, but more than anything, of deep sadness. I was and am sad for the DV victim who reported her case 40 years ago, and still has not obtained proper protection from her perpetrator; for the mother who cannot change her children’s school without the consent of the father, the very same father who holds such consent over her head as leverage for sexual favours. This was the reality faced by DV victims decades ago, and this is still, sadly, the reality they face today.
Reflecting on my busy week of conferences, I feel like expressing my greatest admiration and gratitude towards all the fighters, as well as my great frustration and sadness towards those policy makers who have yet to truly listen to the needs of DV victims. My wish is that someday soon, I will attend a conference/ seminar/ training session/ lecture, and we will discuss the pride we have in our nation for making fundamental changes to protect and safeguard victims of DV.