The facts differ from Mother’s Day greeting card reality
It is up to all of us to create the best circle of influence and positive support for families
May and June are months to celebrate the arrival of Spring, attend to the home and garden, and a time to celebrate and thank Moms and Dads.
According to a survey, Mother’s Day expenditures far exceed those of Father’s Day. It is estimated that Canadians spend some $492 million on Mother’s Day gifts. With about 10 million mothers in Canada, that means about $50 in gifts for each mother (Mediabrands 2015). Yet, the same survey indicated that 6 in 10 moms said what they want most on their day is to spend time with their immediate family (47 per cent) or extended family (12 per cent). Only four per cent said getting gifts and treats is what they look forward to most.
It would be logical to think, then, that women in our country live in safe, secure and harmonious family relationships, but current data indicates a different reality.
Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.
Approximately every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner
Aboriginal women are killed at six times the rate of non-Aboriginal women.
Women are at greater risk of experiencing elder abuse from a family member.
Seven in 10 people who experience family violence are women and girls.
Children who witness 10 or more incidents of parental domestic violence before the age of 16 are at least twice as likely to attempt suicide.
The pain, suffering and anguish (often lifelong) caused by domestic abuse comes with a large price tag. It’s estimated that each year, Canadians collectively spend $7.4 billion to deal with the aftermath of spousal violence alone. This figure includes medical costs (depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress) and loss of income from not being able to work due to the pain and suffering.
If we truly want to impact ending genderbased violence, then why not put the $492 million spent on Mother’s Day gifts to directly supporting women’s safe and equitable inclusion in our society?
Staff at Interval House of Hamilton hear women’s experiences of abuse and violence every day.
Additionally, our team of professionals hears the impact of these experiences on the children. Countless times, women talk about having to compromise their parenting style to ensure their children remain out of harm’s way.
Research shows that children who witness abuse are just as impacted as if they were directly abused (Dr. Linda Baker, learning director at the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children at Western University in London).
They say it takes a village to raise a child. It is not the influence of just you as a parent that has an impact on your child but the influence of the community at large. It is up to all of us to create the best possible circle of influence and positive support for families: mothers, fathers, and children.
Our children are our legacy, needing to be taught, mentored, protected and guided to grow up to be healthy and productive adults. How you parent your child is watched and internalized every day through the eyes of your child. Who they evolve to become … is a reflection of your work. According to Dr. Baker, “A child who lives with violence is forever changed, but not forever damaged. There’s a lot we can do to make tomorrow better.”
As we celebrate the months of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, Interval House of Hamilton would like to thank all our staff, volunteers and, most importantly, women who have had the courage to start the conversation and share their story.
We would also like to thank our male allies at MentorAction and the Hamilton Bulldogs who are working with us on the Be More Than a Bystander campaign and are standing up with us on ending violence against women and their children.