More to abuse than bruising
Domestic violence is no easy issue to discuss but Tokoroa Women’s Support Centre co-ordinator Val Scott hopes that will change. Caitlin Wallace reports.
ON the outskirts of Tokoroa is a seemingly ordinary house, a place most would drive past without a second a look.
But for the past two decades, it has been the safest place on earth for domestic violence victims.
Co-ordinator Val Scott has almost 25 years of experience under her belt at the Tokoroa Women’s Support Centre and Refuge.
It is Women’s Refuge Awareness month and while there will be 31 days of talking, Scott hopes the bid to raise awareness will continue.
‘‘I think the more you say something, the more you hope they will take notice,’’ she said
Although their services are recognised, Scott believes the issue is lack of education.
‘‘A lot of people aren’t aware it’s not just physical abuse.’’
She said the type of abuse extends out to physical, sexual and psychological.
‘‘Back in the day, you were more likely to see some women bruised and battered but it is hard to see nowadays,’’ she said.
Scott said some women do not even know they are in an abusive relationship – which is why there needs to be more education.
And at the Tokoroa centre ‘‘the jug is always hot’’ for those who need to reach out.
Scott said their advocate approach was to help build confidence and ‘‘empowerment’’.
‘‘We don’t tell them what to do . . . it’s about the knowledge, give them the knowledge and choice . . . they have had people telling them what to do all the time,’’ she said.
Scott hopes anyone in an abusive relationship can speak out to help themselves.
‘‘Even if it is to have the courage to have a phone call.’’
Throughout the years, Scott has seen women grow as they regain confidence.
‘‘You can see the changes in them, one of them I didn’t even recognise . . . she didn’t have this pinched look around her . . . she came from a really controlling husband.’’
Open doors: Miriama, Melisa Ward, Vicky Ray and Val Scott encourage others to learn about domestic violence.