Domestic violence victim speaks out as Manitoba protection orders hit 5 year high

Josh Arason/Global News

She goes to bed every single night fearing for her life and scared her husband is going to hurt her again.

This Winnipeg mom, whose name Global News is withholding to protect her identity, said her husband has continually abused her and threatened to kill her.

“He’s always told me ‘if you leave me I’m going to kill you and the kids,'” she said. “I’ve given up. I’m always scared.”

READ MORE: Domestic violence: when the law isn’t enough

She has left him, but she still struggles to get a divorce and he continues to abuse her.

“I feel threatened every hour, every second of the day,” she said. “It’s life-altering. You cannot think straight. I’m always on edge. I’m always scared.”

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It’s a position hundreds of Manitoba woman are in every single year. Some are able to get a protection order against their abuser in the hopes of feeling safe. This past year, 1,548 protection order requests were submitted to Manitoba Justice. 684 were granted – the highest number in the past five years.

READ MORE: 3 protection orders denied against Winnipeg firefighter charged with sexual assault

But all too often, those orders are breached and victims, like her, are put at risk.

684 protection orders were granted in Manitoba in 2016/2017. Josh Arason

“It’s not enough. It’s just a piece of paper,” she said. “How many women will have to die before we change our system? What does protection actually mean?”

Willow Place is a women’s shelter in Winnipeg that helps victims who are being abused.

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“We know that a piece of paper isn’t going to stop them,” Executive Director Lesley Lindberg said. “What we really need to start talking about is how do we move the conversation from protecting women and children to holding those who use violence accountable. Where those who use violence are not just held accountable but also offered support to change their behaviour.”

Lindberg said she wants victims to know there are resources to help at any time of day.

“There is a 24/7 crisis line available wherever you are in the province that puts you in contact with skilled helpers and a shelter,” Lindberg said. “It’s also important to know you don’t need to come to a shelter to get help.”

Family and friends can also be an important resource. Lindberg said people need to be aware that abuse comes in many forms and sometimes you won’t see it.

“Often it’s isolation. You may have a friend who you haven’t heard from for a while. Someone who continually makes excuses to not connect. Who has stopped inviting you over or who tends to leave early,” Lindberg said. “Often, but not always, the abusing partner can be very charming so people are actually quite surprised that there is abuse going on.”

Anyone who needs help can reach out and call the provincial crisis line at 1-877-977-0007.

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Nova House is a shelter for women and children in crisis serving the Interlake and North Eastman regions of Manitoba.

If you or someone you know needs help, the Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters has a detailed list of resources on their website.

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