As Canada marked National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women yesterday, a woman with Envision Counselling said violence is an issue that is still prevalent in Saskatchewan and across the country.
"This issue is very pervasive in Saskatchewan and in Canada as a whole," said Tania Andrist, Resource Development Coordinator for Envision Counselling and Support Centre. "Violence against women used to be something that was swept under the carpet...we didn't really speak about it. And certainly now with many other issues it has become more common to talk about it, but that doesn't mean that it's gone away."
Andrist cited a range of sources, including her own experiences at work, to know that violence against women is still a big problem.
"Whether it's police reports, whether it's the numbers that we're seeing through our doors, whether it's stories that you hear, violence is happening in our society and certainly happening in our communities," Andrist said.
The annual day stems from a tragic event that took place over 30 years ago. Fourteen women were murdered at Polytechnique Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989.
Andrist says the type of violence can vary and doesn't necessarily have to be physical.
"If it's acceptable for negative behaviour towards women and girls, and then it kind of filters down to much more serious things, whether it's assault, or whether it's abuse in relationships, or whether it's even just cat-calling on the streets...that can be very negative and harmful to people. Violence takes many forms," she said.
Andrist added that her counselling centre works with people who have experienced abusive intimate relationships.
"Often times it takes seven times on average for a partner to leave a violent relationship," she said.
Andrist encourages anyone who has experienced violence to reach out for help. You can contact her support centre through their website.
"The more we talk about these issues, and the more people know that there is help...that's a positive thing."