The National Women’s Commission continues to push for an end to violence against women. On November 23, they launched the16 Days of Activism against Gender-based violence campaign in the hopes of sensitizing the community that abusive relationships can indeed be life-threatening. Many women have died at the hands of their abusers. For Shawna Gillett, the story had a happier ending as she managed to leave an abusive relationship that she was in for almost ten years. Gillett shared why she finally decided to walk away.
“When he attacked me at a party he took me and drag me, choke me, punch me in the face and almost half kill me and then when I got away I lay in the bush for three hours and started thinking that this has to be it and I have to break this silence, I have to get out of this and after when I got out of it I spoke to one of my co-workers and she took me in her vehicle. I just get out and I told her everything and she picked me up and put me in her vehicle and she took me to Woman’s Department. I spoke to councilor and from that day I started getting tremendous help. I got a lot of social workers; they helped me, they took me to Court, they pushed the case.”
Gillett said her children were also victims of the abuse since they had to watch their mom be abused at the hands of their father. Gillett said that her abuser is now behind bars
“He got eight years, Five and three but they concur; night and day so it’s supposed to run into like five years, and I don’t know if he’ll get parole or what. One of my biggest fear; I have so much strength after all this. I am not afraid of him again but my biggest fear is that if the cycle continues. I have worked on my kids because they had to go through counseling because of the issue. I realized they had violence against each other; their little sister and things. So, I worked on them so hard; had them do counseling and everything and my biggest fear is not for me. I am not afraid of him but my biggest fear is my kids; if they have to go through the same cycle seeing it happening.”
Gillett explained that many women stay in abusive relationships because they feel ashamed; however, she encourages women to break the silence by seeking help before it is too late. According to the United Nations, approximately 35 percent of women in the world have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. Often times, this comes at the hand of their husband or partner.