Two groups raising awareness about domestic violence, brain injuries

The new campaign looks at domestic violence and brain injury.

  • New social media campaign
  • Educating how domestic violence and brain injuries are related
  • Fighting the stigma

The Kelowna Women’s Shelter and BrainTrust Canada are teaming up to put on an awareness campaign for the month of November.

“We really want to put a focus on invisible injuries and visible labels,” Executive Director of the Kelowna Women’s Shelter Allison Mclauchlan told Kelowna10.

This will run in tandem with National Family Violence Prevention month.

The two organizations are looking to educate the public on how domestic violence and traumatic brain injury are associated with one another.

One in three women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime and in some cases, up to 80 per cent of those women experience symptoms of traumatic brain injury.

“A lot of the stigma around domestic violence is that the women have somehow caused or brought the violence and abuse on themselves,” Mclauchlan explained, adding it's just not true that her choosing to stay has in some way played a part in the violence and abuse she has to live.

The women’s shelter helped over 800 women last year even though they were forced to reduce their number of beds due to COVID.

Mclauchlan added the pandemic further isolated those who experience domestic abuse.

“Although COVID did not cause domestic abuse, it may have increased the severity and the number of incidents,” she said.

Senior Manager of Programs for BrainTrust Canada, Amanda McFarlane, said they have provided support to survivors of partner violence and hopes this campaign gets people understanding more about the neurological consequences.

“We are wanting people to say ‘why’, other than go to judgements,” she said. “We often hear the word ‘lazy’, or we hear with women that it’s their fault.”

McFarlane added the front of the brain is responsible for things like planning, sequencing, initiation and motivation which are important things for women who are in abusive relationships.

“It’s not a matter of why didn’t’ she leave, it’s a matter of she can’t, which might be an outcome of a brain injury.”

Mclauchlan, with the Women’s Shelter, said both population groups get mislabeled and misdiagnosed.

“People tend to judge them on their behaviours and not look at the injuries that led to those behaviours.”

As part of the joint campaign, new posts will go up every week on both organizations’ social media.

More information on the Kelowna Women’s Shelter and BrainTrust Canada can be found on their websites.

Published 2021-10-27 by Connor Chan

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