One in three women will experience domestic violence at some point in their lives.

This is one statistic that scares me. As a woman, I look at my circle of friends and if this statistic is correct some of them would be subject to some form of domestic abuse and quite frankly that makes me sick.

What is also disturbing is that only 20 per cent of abuse cases are reported. I would hate to think that those closest to me would be too afraid to speak up about what is happening to them.

During November the anti-domestic violence White Ribbon campaign is in full swing. The campaign culminates in White Ribbon Day, which is observed on November 25.


Domestic violence isn't always physical. There's not always obvious bruising or marks. Sometimes abuse can be mental or emotional, which can also be just as damaging.

Imagine that bright bubbly woman who has stopped going out with her friends, or who hides away at home. She is a shadow of her former self and doesn't know how to escape the situation.

The situation becomes exponentially worse when children are involved.

Even if the children are not subject to abuse, they know what is going on in their home. They too experience the anxiety and fear, and there is every risk that this behaviour then becomes normal to them.

Is this what we want in our society? Do we want to teach our children about everything that they shouldn't be doing?

When a child is born it is their parents' hope for them to be happy and healthy, but as they grow their parents want them to become decent people. People who care about others and who are considerate and compassionate.

But after being subject to or witnessing violence in the home, it takes a special kind of person to overcome those behaviours.

The White Ribbon website states psychological and emotional violence is commonly experienced by women and children.


Many women say it is the worst kind of abuse as it is about manipulation and coercion and it affects your emotions and personality, rather than your body, the website states.

Victims of emotional abuse can feel like they are going mad, are very frightened, and feel like they have no choices and are often made to feel like it's their fault.

This form of abuse is often underestimated. It's not recognised by many people because it can be subtle and hidden.

Survivors say psychological abuse attacks their spirit and self-esteem and its effects can last the longest.

I hate to think of all the people in our community who have been subject to this abuse.

The White Ribbon campaign compliments but is separate to family violence It's Not OK campaign, but the theme is recurrent through its promotional material.

The campaign aims to change men's attitudes and behaviours, predominantly through men talking to men.

As a community we all need to do our part in stamping out domestic violence, in every shape and form.

Your home is meant to be your safe place, your sanctuary, but imagine living in a world where you are scared to go home but have nowhere else to go.

Domestic violence is no longer a taboo subject. It needs to be discussed openly in the community.

Places such as the Women's Refuge are often talked about as a place for women to go to escape their abusive partners, but on the other side of the coin, there is now a call for a place for men to go to help them reduce the risk of being abusive.

One of the recommendations from the Glenn Inquiry, commissioned by entrepreneur Owen Glenn, was that there needs to be dedicated refuge houses for men.

The new report from the inquiry, based on interviewing 26 former family violence perpetrators, has found that half of them had to cut back or stop using alcohol and other drugs before they could stop being violent.

The report recommended "dedicated houses for men" who have been taken out of their homes for a few days under police safety orders to calm down after a domestic violence incident that was not serious enough for an arrest.

However, Tauranga Living without Violence general manager Mary Beresford-Jones says there are already two shelters for men in Tauranga - the Tauranga Moana Night Shelter and Kidz Need Dadz - which offer temporary placements for men.

Tauranga Living Without Violence Collective is a counselling services agency that delivers programmes for men and women about living without violence.

Mary Beresford-Jones says the organisation sees hundreds of men every year through its service.

Arrangements had been made by the organisation and Tauranga police for men to attend the shelters if they did not have anywhere else to go.

I'm glad these services are available because removing yourself from the situation is often a step in the right direction

The White Ribbon website also contains some other horrifying statistics, including that on average, 14 women were killed by their partners or ex partners in New Zealand each year.

It also states that in New Zealand, more than 3500 convictions are recorded against men each year for assaults on women.

No violence is tolerable. The sooner that message gets through to people, the better.