The West Island Women’s Shelter (WIWS) welcomed over 30 citizens at the Pierrefonds Cultural Center, recently, in offering up a conference on the differences between conjugal violence and a couple’s quarrel.
Three speakers from different professional associations presented their content during the two hour lecture.
A WIWS counselor spoke of conjugal violence as a chosen and intentional method, taking control of another and not a loss of control, a relationship of power, and loss of freedom for the victim. Different types of violence are verbal, psychological, economic, physical, and sexual.
Brigitte Garceau, a specialist in family law focused on the women’s and children’s rights in the case of separation, or divorce as a consequence of conjugal violence. Different laws are applicable whether married or in a common law relationship. Factors in determining custody are alert on what is best for the children, parental capacity, primary caregiver, parental behavior-including violence, age of children, and their wishes, employment schedules, proximity of residences and communication.
Two officers from Police Department District 3 were present in illustrating what acts are recognized as conjugal violence, and what is required as proof in moving forward with a complaint.
Violence arrives in many different forms, verbal, psychological, physical, sexual, and violence with objects. Requirements of evidence-witnesses, emails and letters, tape recordings, medical files, report cards, or private investigators, to move forward with complaint.
“Today, conjugal violence has reached epidemic proportions. It affects women of all ages, knows no economic, social, or ethnic boundaries, and can include psychological, verbal, physical, and sexual violence as well as financial control. At the WIWS, our counselors work hand in hand with victims to help them take back control of their lives. After all, every woman has the right to live without fear and with dignity,” said Hélène Harvey – President of the Board of Directors at WIWS.
“Everyone has a pattern of the type of people they are attracted to and most of us repeat the same mistakes, especially today when most young women have been raised without fathers, it is difficult to know what type of man to accept in your life with no male heroes to show you what a good man is. The part that hurt me the most in the situation was that my son had to see it happen” said L (name protected).
“The 25 year commemoration of the Polytechnique massacre, and recent current events, particularly regarding violence against aboriginal women, remind us that violence against women remains a prevalent issue in today’s society. Although more must be done politically to deal with the issue, we as a society all have a role to play in helping to end violence against women and helping the victims, including children.
Providing education and information to women and various social action community groups about the different forms of violence and how victims can protect their rights and the rights of their children is a critical step towards ending violence and empowering women in confronting their abusers,” Garceau told The Suburban.
“The conference on domestic violence was very detailed and extremely informative. It was interesting to hear all the sides of the law and the rights of women who suffer in abusive relationships. It helped me to better understand how victims can regain their own personal power under such terrible circumstances”, said J (name protected)
It was 1978 when several ladies who were victims of conjugal violence decided to band together in the same living space with the aim of mutually helping each other with their needs.
The problem grew, and on February 6, 1979, WIWS was incorporated with a grant from Centraide allowing the rental of an apartment, over a garage to be utilized by eight women and their children.
Further information on WIWS can be viewed on the following link:
Telephone: (514) 620-4845