The benefits of mindfulness are being experienced and spoken of world-wide which is very exciting. More and more people are beginning to experience when they take time to stop, go inward and train their mind to be still, a depth of healing happens on many different levels. This has been my experience – and it all started 23 years ago when I went on my first meditation retreat on Vancouver Island. For most of my life, I was going nonstop. My life was chaotic and so was my mind. I was desperately searching for peace, love and fulfillment on the outside - in relationships, work, you name it. And it was nowhere to be found.
Abuse can happen to anyone, at any time. Age, gender, race or socio-economic status have no bearing when it comes to abuse. We all have a role to play in the fight against abuse and domestic violence. Friends, family members and neighbours can all make a positive difference. They’re also the ones who are most likely the first to notice warning signs of abuse, which is why it’s so crucial that everyone is aware of these warning signs. We all have a shared responsibility to promote respect for all members in our society and help anyone we know who is being abused. Elder abuse is more common than many people realize and can happen in a variety of ways.
Violence against women is, sadly, still highly prevalent. As we’ve talked about before, domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of socio-economic status, age, race or occupation. Even women in some of the most prominent places in society are not immune to domestic violence. In today’s technological-heavy society, a new form of abuse has emerged that quite often has devastating results. It’s called online violence. This type of violence can take many forms.
There’s a strong correlation between domestic violence and education. Equipping women with an understanding of what constitutes domestic violence and providing information about how to safely leave an abusive relationship can be instrumental in ensuring that women are able to leave a violent relationship. In developing countries, programs that educate both men and women on respectful relationships as well as gender equality, have proven to be extremely helpful for challenging gender stereotypes, creating equal partnerships and decreasing domestic violence rates. Working against cultural stereotypes that reinforce acceptance of inequality and providing opportunities for education can open routes through which girls are able to escape violent family relationships and help end cycles of abuse.
“Grampa’s leaving now. Would you like to give him a hug or a high five?” we asked as my father-in-law was leaving our home. My five-year old ran in for a big bear hug but my two year old decided she wasn’t in the mood for a hug. She did, however, feel up to giving a little high five. Thankfully, Grampa was completely fine with it and understood that in our home, we don’t force hugs and kisses.
Due to ablest views in society many women with disabilities are regarded as children and the thought of us being in intimate relationships is either inconceivable or repugnant. The reality is we can find ourselves in the same “diabolical dance” otherwise known as domestic violence as temporarily abled women. In fact many survivors of domestic violence have become disabled due to physical attacks and or prolonged stress.
Throughout our lives we are blessed with friendships. Some friends pass through our lives, leaving only memories behind. Others stay with us on our life journey. Some friends have been with us for a very long time, like childhood best friends, or that first friend we meet when we move to a new town for university or college. And we forge some of our strong friendships with people we meet later in life, coworkers, parents of our children’s friends, neighbours or others that become part of our social networks.
In 2003, Jean Calterone Williams in her text “A Roof Over My Head: Homeless Women and the Shelter Industry” writes: Women’s stories and comments have shown repeatedly the importance of domestic violence in understanding homelessness. Yet most research distinguishes between women who live in homeless shelters and those in domestic violence shelters. Likewise, the environments and programs the two types of shelters offer vary significantly, based on the idea that battered women need different services than homeless women do.
In our society, we look up to athletes and many of us aspire to be like them. Athletes are often seen as role models for youth. Athletes also have a special status in our clubs, high schools and universities. It’s so important to remember that with this special status comes a responsibility. As male athletes and coaches, we are active leaders and role models in how we treat, respect and protect girls and women. We need to take this responsibility seriously.
As we gear up to celebrate Canada 150, only one week after National Aboriginal Day, we can’t ignore the fact that not everyone is enthusiastically embracing Canada 150. “What exactly are we celebrating?” is a question many Canadians are asking. “150 years of what?” ask others.