Dr. Avnish Jolly, Winnipeg, Canada : Research suggests that “positive fatherhood” is The Key in preventing violence in Generation Next among both girls and boys. Fathers who are involved in caring for their children are role-modelling behaviours that promote gender equality. There are about 1,200 female victims for every 100,000 women, which is just five per cent higher than the rate of violence against men, reports Statistics Canada. The discourse on gender inequality has changed since the 1960s and 1970s, which means that in order to successfully combat the societal problem of domestic violence, we need a paradigm shift.
Recent study on domestic violence in Canada and its impact on the workplace have found more than one third of workers across the country have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime, and for more than half of those affected, the violence followed them to work. The study, led by Western University’s Faculty of Education, is the first of its kind to be conducted in Canada. Beginning in 2013, researchers at the Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women and Children (CREVAWC) collected data from more than 8,400 employed Canadians, over the age of 15, from every province and territory. This effort is largest of its kind in the world, should be an eye-opener to many. Key finding of the study showed:
Abusive phone calls, texts and e-mails at work.
The stress of hiding a bruise in daily life.
The uncertainty of what’s waiting when you get home.
The study also showed a trend in the ways in which individuals experiencing domestic violence disclosed that fact to others. Of those who chose to discuss it with someone at work, more than 80 per cent chose to disclose their struggles to a co-worker.
Although it still appears that males continue to perpetrate the most common and severe forms of domestic violence, bidirectional violence is the most common pattern of violence in abusive heterosexual dating relationships.
Of those, more than half say the issue has also followed them to work — hurting their performance and, in some cases, even costing them their job.
It’s a clear sign the implications of domestic violence extend beyond those directly involved, said Peter Jaffe, a professor in Western’s education faculty and the academic director of Western University’s Centre for Research and Education of Violence Against Women and Children.
One impetus for the survey was the 2005 murder of Lori Dupont, a nurse at a Windsor hospital who was stabbed to death by an anesthesiologist while working in the Hotel-Dieu Grace hospital. An inquest heard how Marc Daniel harassed Dupont at work before he killed her and took his own life. After the Dupont case, researchers discovered they didn’t have Canadian data on how domestic violence affects the workplace.
It wasn’t the only Southwestern Ontario case to ripple far and wide.
In 1996, Theresa Vince was gunned down by her supervisor at the Sears store in Chatham. More than a year earlier, she’d reported she was sexually harassed by her boss, Russell Davis, but nothing was done.
The survey, conducted with the Canadian Labour Congress, is expected to be used to help employers, workers, advocates and government to develop supports for workers and policy to deal with the issue.
Advocates have pushed to have protection against violence and sexual harassment included in provincial workplace safety laws, as Ontario amended it’s in the fallout of the two Southwestern Ontario deaths.
“This points to the fundamental need we have in Canada to be educating not only managers and human resources professionals, but every single individual in the workplace to recognize and respond to domestic violence,” stressed MacQuarrie, community director with Western University’s Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children, she also advocated “We need to have solid policies and programs in place because everyone from individuals, to communities, to the entire country will benefit from safer, healthier workplaces.”
William Shakespeare advocates it is a wise father who knows his own child.