Ruth Goose remembers that bruises, black eyes and swollen lips were a much more common sight in public years ago.
Though it’s rarer now to see people display obvious signs of abuse, she thinks family violence is still a problem.
“I think a lot of the violence has gone behind closed doors,” said Goose, one of the organizers of the events during Family Violence Awareness Week next week and also a member of the Mental Health Awareness Working Group, which has been meeting regularly to address these issues in the community.
“It’s still happening and we need to talk about it. If we don’t talk about it, it’ll never go away. People suffer in silence, when really it’s everybody’s business.”
Family violence affects everyone, she said, especially in such a small and tight-knit community.
“It might be your neighbour, it might be the girl down the street, or it might be the man on the next block who’s being abused,” said Goose. “It’s not necessarily women. It’s children as well who suffer from family violence – they watch it. It’s not only physical violence. It’s verbal abuse, it’s mental abuse.”
And if it’s not brought up, spoken about and dealt with, that cycle is just going to continue, she said.
Peggy Day, another organizer of the awareness week, said the events are about promoting a healthy lifestyle and healthy relationships.
Some activities will include board games, swim nights, traditional activities and a crib tournament. Goose will also be working with students at the secondary school to promote non-violence.
“Because we’re promoting a healthy lifestyle with healthy relationships, getting together families, doing healthy activities, it will make them want to do the activities more and more on their own instead of just leaving their kid at home or letting them run around and do their own things,” said Day.
The impacts of family violence can be seen everywhere, she said.
“You can see the impacts on your personal family and your friend’s family, how it affects everybody,” said Day. “Everybody has to tip-toe around the abuser and nobody says anything. Everybody is quiet. This is where we’d really like to speak about it and get it out in the open and get it out in everybody’s face and say it’s not right, it has to be stopped.”
Both encourage everyone to come out to next week’s events.
A family swim is scheduled for 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, and a crib and games night at Ingamo Hall will be held 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20.
Other event times were tentative as of press but should be posted online once finalized.
People are also encouraged to wear purple on Friday, Oct. 20.