Prevention of Violence Against Women Week 2015

Violence against women in intimate relationships is a learned behaviour so Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) has launched an awareness campaign #BecauseYouCan to draw attention to the effects witnessing abuse has on children. The campaign features bus shelter ads positioned around Vancouver, BC. People are invited to share photos of the ads through social media with the hashtag #BecauseYouCan.

In Canada, it is estimated that each year 800,000 children are exposed to a woman being abused by their father or father-figure.  When children witness abuse they receive the message that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflict and therefore a normal part of a relationship.

“In the research literature, children are often called “witnesses”. This term implies a passive role – but children living with their mother’s abuse will actively interpret, predict, assess, worry, engage in problem solving, take measures to protect themselves or siblings, both physically and emotionally”, states Angela Marie MacDougall,Executive Director of BWSS, “Children may referee, try to rescue their mother, try to deflect the abuser’s attention onto them, try to distract the abuser, take care of younger siblings, and they may also seek outside help such as calling the police or running to a neighbour’s house”.


Some findings point to gender specific factors for boys and girls that are associated with witnessing violence. In general, boys have been shown to exhibit more frequent problems and ones that are categorized as external, such as hostility and aggression, while girls generally show evidence of more internalized problems.  There are studies that indicate that up to 80% of boys who witness their mother’s abuse by their father or father-figure go on to be abusive in their relationships with women as adults.  As well, girls who witness go on to experience abuse in their adult relationships with men.

“When a man is abusive to a child’s mother, it’s more than bad role modelling, it’s impacting the safety of those children forever”, states Rosa Elena Arteaga, Manager of Direct Services and Clinical Practice at BWSS, “The impact carries into adulthood and into the next generations”.

#BecauseYouCan coincides with other BWSS events commemorating Prevention of Violence Against Women Week (April 12-19, 2015)

YOUth Ending Violence Volunteer Training Program

Youth are powerful agents for change and BWSS successful Youth Ending Violence Program trains young women and young men to facilitate workshops on dating and sexual violence prevention. BWSS YouthFacilitators learn the differences between healthy and abusive relationships, dynamics of abuse, learn where and how to obtain help, understand the impact of media and social media on youth in dating relationships, and how to be an empowered bystander. BWSS Youth Ending Violence Program reaches 2,000 youth annually.

Creative Cafe Day – #BecauseYouCan Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls

At My Sister’s Closet, a social enterprise of BWSS, located at 1092 Seymour Street (at Helmcken) Downtown, Vancouver

April 15, 2015 from 12 pm to 6 pm

Community sharing their talents all to support ending violence.

Live Music

Sidewalk Art

Face Painting

Local Women Artisans Creations Featured

Tarot Card Readings

Henna Hand Painting

Origami Making

Spirit Bear coffee and tea

#BecauseYouCan Blog

A blog series featuring violence prevention information, tools and tips to help people navigate violence prevention opportunities in their own life.  The blog series is hosted at BWSS Ending Violence Blog at


For more information:

Angela Marie MacDougall, Executive Director of BWSS

T: 604-808-0507

Rosa Elena Arteaga, Manager of Direct Services and Clinical Practices

T: 778-996-5993


You could do something to End Violence Against Women