Newspaper article The Canadian Press

New Brunswick Seeks Champions to Help Campaign against Intimate Partner Violence

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

New Brunswick Seeks Champions to Help Campaign against Intimate Partner Violence

Article excerpt

Champions campaign against partner violence

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FREDERICTON - Melissa Shea had been married for more than two years but no matter what she did, she says it wasn't good enough for her husband.

She was stripped down emotionally and became separated from family and friends.

It was only after an intervention by a friend that she found the strength to break fee from an abusive relationship.

Shea told her emotional story Thursday in Fredericton at the launch of a New Brunswick campaign aimed at preventing intimate partner violence by enlisting people to become champions to help spread the message.

"I am a survivor and I will continue to be a survivor," Shea said. "I felt so drawn to this campaign. I just had to be part of it."

A Love Shouldn't Hurt champion will be expected to initiate one activity per year, such as a community talk, a walk or run, a video screening or any other activity that engages the public and spreads the campaign message.

New Brunswick has the highest rate of intimate partner violence victims in the Atlantic provinces, according to government statistics, with a woman being killed by her partner every six days in Canada.

"Everyone has a role in preventing intimate partner violence," Justice Minister Denis Landry said after showing a number of online videos produced for the campaign.

For Shea, it was the first time she had told her story to a large crowd, let alone reporters and television cameras.

While it was emotional for her to deliver the message, Shea said it was a story she wanted to tell and the speech quickly wrote itself.

She said soon after she got married, her husband often argued with her and his words were degrading.

"During my relationship, I was torn down, I could do no right and nothing I could do would change this. It was verbal abuse. I thought to myself, 'At least he doesn't hit me,'" she said.

Shea said that because it wasn't physical abuse, she often tried to rationalize the situation and would end up blaming herself.

She became separated from family and friends, and left university because she was made to feel guilty about the cost. She didn't visit family because she said he claimed he would be too lonely without her.

Shea said she knew the relationship was bad and knew there were supports in the community, but didn't believe they were for her because she was subjected to emotional manipulation rather than physical abuse. …

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