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.

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

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.’’

Photo: CAITLIN WAL­LACE

Open doors: Miriama, Melisa Ward, Vicky Ray and Val Scott en­cour­age oth­ers to learn about do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

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