Clearwater murder is part of a bigger pattern

One of the most dangerous times for women in violent relationships is when they leave

By Dale Bass

Kamloops This Week

One of the most dangerous times for women in violent relationships is when they leave, said Michele Walker of the Kamloops Y Women’s Shelter.

The director of its violence against women intervention and support services spoke following the murder of a mother of three by her estranged partner in Clearwater.

Angila Wilson was killed on Monday, April 21. Her estranged common-law husband was arrested and charged with her murder.

“The perpetrator has no control anymore and the violence can escalate as he tries to regain control,” Walker said.

“There is risk when she is in the relationship, but it ramps up when she leaves.”

Walker said the past three months have been “incredibly busy” for staff at the shelter.

She said the shelter is always at capacity, noting if a woman or family moves out, those spaces are filled within 48 hours.

About 300 women access outreach services every year, she said, and another 400 to 500 women per year will call the shelter to ask for help or referrals to other services.

Walker said staff are seeing increased complexities in cases they deal with — more women facing barriers to income or legal assistance, for example, or trying to navigate the government bureaucracy to access services.

“She’s already stressed,” Walker said of the typical woman with whom the shelter deals.

“It is very daunting to face any of these systems, even as someone who knows how to navigate them. Imagine being afraid and alone and trying to do it.”

Walker said staff are also seeing situations with more violence, mental-health and substance-abuse issues than before.

And, she said, the “system” is even harder to get through if the woman is aboriginal, an immigrant or a refugee.

Children who witness violence in the home “carry that violence with them,” Walker said, but whether it leaves them scarred depends on the supports they can access through adulthood.

Walker criticized language used by the media when covering domestic violence when referring to a “killing” rather than a “murder” and when referring to a “domestic dispute” rather than a “violent relationship.”

“The language we use minimizes their experiences,” she said.

Walker said society often criticizes women who don’t leave violent relationships, asking why they didn’t call police, contact support services or flee the house.

She said most women learn how to navigate the violence in the home, recognizing the triggers that will cause the violence and knowing what to expect.

“That’s why we tell women – and the community – this is not their fault. He is the one who chose violence,” Walker said. “When society blames women, we ask ‘Why wasn’t he stopped? What was done to stop him?’”

To contact the Y Women’s Emergency Shelter in Kamloops, call 250-374-6162.

For information on outreach services, call 250-376-7800 or 250-320-3110.

The Safe Home Response Service in Barriere can be reached by calling the number 250-672-6444.  Clearwater can be reached by calling 250-674-2135.

 

Just Posted

Man dies in snowmobile accident during Sun Peaks race

An Alberta man has died as a result of a fatal snowmobile… Continue reading

RCMP looking for grain haulers dumping grain on roadside pull-outs

Illegal practice happening on Highway 5 between Valemount and Avola

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

Rocking Through The Ages with grads of 2019

Barriere Secondary’s Class of 2019 presented their show ‘Rocking Through The Ages’… Continue reading

Explore the true meaning of Easter

Bunnies and baskets, chocolates and candies. It’s that time of year when… Continue reading

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

Most Read