Not addressing the connection between mental health and violence means women are often misdiagnosed or unable to access the support they need to heal
Keetha Mercer is Manager of Violence Prevention at the Canadian Women’s Foundation. She is currently responsible for implementing the national violence prevention strategies on gender-based violence and teen healthy relationships. Prior to joining the Foundation Keetha worked primarily with youth through program design and facilitating violence prevention, intersectional feminism and gender based programming, as well as focusing on social research, organizational development, conflict resolution, poverty and homelessness, and LGBTQ/Queer issues. In addition to her work life, she is an aspiring herbalist, and baked good fanatic with one too many tattoos, who adores the woods and laughing at her own jokes.
The positive effects of having supportive people around when someone decides to share their experiences cannot be underestimated. Not only does it open up the possibility of sharing at all, it encourages survivors to seek counselling and other supports, reducing levels of depression, anxiety and PTSD, and lessening the likelihood of experiencing abuse again. If someone chooses to disclose to you, the best thing you can do is believe them, avoid judgement, put their needs first and understand that everyone reacts differently to trauma. So, why is there still a public debate on whether we can believe women who share their stories of violence?
03/01/2016 05:25 EST
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