One in three men blame victims of domestic abuse, poll finds
Many Canadians continue to blame victims of domestic abuse and are reluctant to report suspected cases to police, according to a new poll conducted in Ontario.
Twenty-four per cent of respondents believe it's possible for women to bring domestic abuse upon themselves, according to the poll conducted by Angus Reid. Victim-blaming is even higher among men, with one in three male respondents (34.3 per cent) claiming women bear some responsibility for the abuse they suffer. That number was lower among women (14.1 per cent).
The Angus Reid Forum poll comes in collaboration with Interval House, a women's shelter in Toronto. Interval House commissioned the poll as part of a push to fight violence against women ahead of International Women's Day on Sunday.
"There is no action or choice by a victim that can justify abuse," said Renee Weekes, Chair of the Interval House board of directors at Interval House.
"Women who experience violence need to know that abuse is never their fault and that there are resources in the community to support them," Weekes said in a statement on Wednesday.
The poll also found that only 58.3 per cent of respondents would be willing to intervene if they suspected abuse had taken place. Another 17.1 per cent said they would stay out of the situation because they wouldn't want to interfere.
One in three said they wouldn't know what to do if they suspected abuse.
Weekes said she was shocked to learn the number of people willing to report abuse was so low. She said many women live in a "private hell" and need help from their community to escape abusive situations.
"Our community must begin to move to an attitude of zero tolerance for violence," Weekes said.
Weekes' organization is trying to spread awareness about abuse against women using the hashtag #StopVAW. Twitter users are encouraged to share selfie photos taken with stop signs.