Love shouldn’t hurt

New Brunswick seeks cham­pi­ons to help cam­paign against in­ti­mate part­ner vi­o­lence

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA - BY KEVIN BIS­SETT

Melissa Shea had been mar­ried for more than two years but no mat­ter what she did, she says it wasn’t good enough for her hus­band.

She was stripped down emo­tion­ally and be­came sep­a­rated from fam­ily and friends.

It was only af­ter an in­ter­ven­tion by a friend that she found the strength to break fee from an abu­sive re­la­tion­ship. Shea told her emo­tional story Thurs­day in Fred­er­ic­ton at the launch of a New Brunswick cam­paign aimed at prevent­ing in­ti­mate part­ner vi­o­lence by en­list­ing peo­ple to be­come cham­pi­ons to help spread the mes­sage.

“I am a sur­vivor and I will con­tinue to be a sur­vivor,” Shea said. “I felt so drawn to this cam­paign. I just had to be part of it.”

A Love Shouldn’t Hurt cham­pion will be ex­pected to ini­ti­ate one ac­tiv­ity per year, such as a com­mu­nity talk, a walk or run, a video screen­ing or any other ac­tiv­ity that en­gages the pub­lic and spreads the cam­paign mes­sage.

New Brunswick has the high­est rate of in­ti­mate part­ner vi­o­lence vic­tims in the At­lantic prov­inces, ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment statis­tics, with a woman be­ing killed by her part­ner ev­ery six days in Canada.

“Ev­ery­one has a role in prevent­ing in­ti­mate part­ner vi­o­lence,” Jus­tice Min­is­ter De­nis Landry said af­ter show­ing a num­ber of on­line videos pro­duced for the cam­paign.

For Shea, it was the first time she had told her story to a large crowd, let alone re­porters and tele­vi­sion cam­eras.

While it was emo­tional for her to de­liver the mes­sage, Shea said it was a story she wanted to tell and the speech quickly wrote it­self.

She said soon af­ter she got mar­ried, her hus­band of­ten ar­gued with her and his words were de­grad­ing.

“Dur­ing my re­la­tion­ship, I was torn down, I could do no right and noth­ing I could do would change this. It was ver­bal abuse. I thought to my­self, ‘At least he doesn’t hit me,”’ she said.


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