Domestic violence is more than just physical abuse, according to the Kempsey Domestic Violence Monitoring Committee (KDVMC).
The KDVMC hosted a barbecue in the Kempsey Clyde Street mall on Thursday December 1 to raise awareness on the different guises of domestic violence as part of the 16 Days of Activism against gender violence campaign, period November 25 to December 10.
KDVMC Chairperson Shelley Baker said that the 16 days of activism, including White Ribbon Day, was an international movement to end gender violence against women in all its forms.
“Domestic violence can include financial, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse as well as physical abuse,” Ms Baker said.
“So far this year there has been 32 women killed by their intimate partner as a result of intimate partner violence. Statistics represent that women are more likely to be killed by their intimate partner than by any other person, whereas men are more likely to be killed by a stranger.
“When women are being controlled in their relationship it makes it almost impossible to leave as they are often isolated, without financial means and threatened with harm should they leave. Women experiencing Domestic Violence feel dis-empowered and their self-esteem is generally so low that having the confidence and courage to ask for help is an incredibly brave move.”
Kempsey Family Support Youth Worker Mark Bunting said it was a misconception that domestic violence was confined to low socio-economic areas.
“We know this is simply not the case,” he said. “Domestic violence is happening across the board and we see a huge range in victims and perpetrators. It happens to people living on the Sydney North Shore. It happens everywhere.”
Mr Bunting’ said his role as a youth worker gave him an insight into the effect of all forms of domestic violence on children.
“Children do not have to witness physical violence to be affected,” he said. “The fact that they are living in a home where domestic violence is happening is traumatising for them. It keeps them in a heightened sense of anxiety, which heavily impacts their emotional and intellectual growth.”
Domestic violence is no longer seen as a women’s problem, according to Mr Bunting.
“It’s time for everyone in the community to come together – especially men – to end violence against women. Too many people see or hear something they know is not right, but they just ignore it and are not wanting to get involved. Once the community understands that domestic violence is more than just physical abuse I think more people will come forward and report it.” said Ms Baker.
If this article raises any concerns for you, please call the 24/7 Domestic Violence Hotline on 1800 65 64 63 or you can call Kempsey Family Support on 6563 1588 if you require any further information on support options available.
Please call Kempsey Police station 65616199 or Crime stoppers 1800 333 000 to report any concerns or if you are worried about the welfare of a person.