Kelowna Women’s Shelter and Brain Trust team up to raise awareness

You work in a primary school. You are worried because the mother of one of your students has stopped coming to parent-teacher meetings and you cannot reach her. In addition, you have noticed that the child arrives at school without completing his homework and that his lunches contain the bare minimum. You might think this is just a classic example of neglect, but have you ever thought that the mother is the one who suffers from abuse and is in need?

1 in 3 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, and in some cases up to 80% of these women show symptoms of head trauma. Often there are no physical signs of brain damage, as strangulation is a common cause in people who experience domestic violence. Likewise, identifying a traumatic brain injury can be difficult because emotional, behavioral, and cognitive symptoms vary widely and include feelings of depression, irritability, forgetfulness, lack of motivation, or apparent indifference. daily tasks.

Despite the prevalence of this problem, domestic violence and brain damage can easily go unnoticed or misdiagnosed and are often inappropriately labeled, causing future trauma for some of our most vulnerable people. People who experience a head injury are negatively labeled, and clients often mention that they’ve been called stupid, lazy, unstable, or crazy, when they’re actually living with an invisible injury.

This is exactly why Brain Trust Canada and the Kelowna Women’s Shelter are teaming up to raise awareness of these labels. In November, the two organizations will jointly lead a four-week social media campaign to shed light on the prevalence of stigma in head injuries and domestic violence.

“We decided we had to take a stand. Says Allison Mclauchlan, Executive Director of Kelowna Women’s Shelter. “Dispel myths and focus on the realities of living with abuse and traumatic brain injury. Partnerships should provide opportunities to improve our programs in order to increase our support capacity, and this partnership ticks all the boxes.

Amanda McFarlane, Senior Program Manager for BrainTrust Canada, agrees: “Our mission is to identify populations that are neither recognized nor supported, and women victims of traumatic brain injury and domestic violence need our support. . We need to shed light on this issue and we stand in solidarity with the Kelowna Women’s Shelter to support the women in our community.

But partnerships between service organizations and nonprofits will not be enough to change the rhetoric surrounding brain damage in domestic violence. Women victims of domestic violence are often stigmatized and blamed for their situation. The reaction to a person who has suffered a brain injury as a result of abuse in relation to a motor vehicle accident, for example, is very different. “If a brain injury is caused by an accident or a fall, our society tends not to hold the victim responsible for their injuries or subsequent behavior. Mclauchlan said. “This is not the case when it comes to a woman who survives abuse and violence. Instead, we often hear “Why didn’t she go? “,” She must have done something to provoke him “and so on. The blame is often on the woman and not on the abuser, and if we add a traumatic brain injury that has not been treated and undiagnosed, she is subject to more judgments. All we see are his behaviors and his true story becomes invisible.

McFarlane agrees, adding, “If we don’t start talking and taking action now, the impact on future generations will be disastrous. I have worked with women who have been sued by their abusers, who have suffered the effects of their brain injury on them, and who have lost custody of their children. This is unacceptable. With a proper diagnosis of a brain injury, we can provide strategies for women to recover from their injury and get their lives back on track.

The importance of community awareness and participation is a key objective and a need for both organizations. “We cannot do this job alone,” says Mclauchlan. “In order to fully support women victims of domestic violence, we need an integrated response and our community is a key part of that. “

The joint advocacy campaign will begin on November 1 to coincide with the start of National Family Violence Prevention Month and will be featured on the social media accounts of both organizations. For more information, please follow Brain Trust Canada and the Kelowna Women’s Shelter Accounts.


Media inquiries:

Ester Brochet, Director of Development, Kelowna
Refuge for women
(778) 478-7774 x.204
[email protected]

Molly raposo, Office and communication
Manager, BrainTrust Canada
(250) 762-3233 x.102
[email protected]


About the Kelowna Women’s Shelter: Since 1980, the Kelowna Women’s Shelter has provided safe emergency accommodation and essentials such as food, clothing and toiletries for women and their children who have been victims of domestic violence. Serving women in need of Oyama in Peachland, they provide individual and group counseling, planning and transportation support, advocacy and outreach, and preventive education programs for women. and children, all at no cost. All Kelowna Women’s Shelter services, programs and supports are free, confidential and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

About BrainTrust Canada: BrainTrust Canada is a non-profit organization dedicated to meeting the unique needs of people affected by acquired brain injury by providing evidence-based approaches to rehabilitation and recovery that lead to meaningful results.

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