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I write this in light of the fact that Calgary police are investigating the 29th murder of the year. Of those 29 murders 8 of them have been domestic violence related.

What is particularly frustrating about most of these murders is that neighbours have known that violence was taking place, but chose. Yes CHOSE not to get involved. This means that they heard these women screaming for help, yet chose not to respond. This means that they saw these women walking around their neighbourhood covered in bruises, yet chose not to ask if there was anything they could do.

In 2006 close to 20,000 women and children tried to go to women’s shelters in Calgary and were turned away because there was no room.
On average, each woman tries to leave an abusive spouse seven times before she succeeds.

The prospect of leaving an abusive spouse is terrifying. You’re left with the thought of nowhere to go, especially in calgary’s housing and apartment market: those apartments that *are* affordable, are not places you want to try to raise children in. If you get shared custody there’s a chance that your abusive partner will use those children against you. There’s a chance that no matter how far across the country you move your partner will find you and abuse you again, or perhaps kill you because you left. Maybe there’s just the fear of being alone.

The fact is that once violence starts, if it is not stopped, either through some form of marital intervention, or through the ‘victim’ (I hate that word) leaving it will escalate. No matter how many presents ‘he’ buys, no matter how many times ‘he’ apologises. You will find yourself a statistic unless you leave or force him to admit there’s a problem.

The local womans shelter, distress line, and likely police as well, can help with an escape plan.

In closing, back to my original point. if given a choice, which would you prefer? being a little embarassed because you have to ask your neighbour about the black eye? Having said neighbour angry at you for a while? Or having to admit to the police that you heard the thumping and screaming but couldn’t be bothered to pick up the phone?

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