We must break this vicious cycle

Randy Simms
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Men are part of the problem and should be part of the solution

Krista Miller told a disturbing story to a group at the Status of Women’s Council in Labrador City last month.

In a quiet voice often filled with emotion, she stood before a captivated audience of men and women and recounted a time in her life when violence was the single overwhelming issue she faced.

At age 26, Krista got involved with a young man who was nice, attentive, funny; he seemed to like the things she liked. It didn’t take long before the affair blossomed into something akin to love.

But he turned out not to be the dream companion she had hoped for. It was only after she felt committed to him that things started to change.

First came the probing questions about her life before him.

He wanted to know everything about her, especially who she had dated — were there other men in her life?

At the time, she was working in a fine dining restaurant, a job that required casual contact between customers and staff.

The dress code meant she was always well-turned-out. These simple job requirements led to strife.

Her boyfriend started to display unreasonable jealousy and constantly accused her of being too nice to some of the male customers. Eventually he accused her of cheating.

Because she was committed to the relationship, she tried to make things right.

She started to abandon friends and co-workers in favour of spending all her free time with him. It didn’t help.

Before long, he hit her for the first time. Things escalated from there.

When the police were finally called and he was arrested, Krista had faced a number of violence outbursts and beatings. He had punched her several times and strangled her to the point she almost lost consciousness.

It was the quick thinking of a neighbour who heard her cries for help that led to her rescue.

Krista did not grow up in a violent atmosphere and the emotional toll of this experience could have destroyed her. But after a couple of years of counselling and strong support from a loving family and friends, she moved on.

And she finally decided what to do with her life.

She described filling out the application to join the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and ending up with a uniform and a badge. It was a huge accomplishment.

Her message to the people gathered with the Status Of Women’s Council in Labrador City was simple: it doesn’t matter what your circumstance might look like today, things will get better if you make the right choices.

Staying in a relationship where violence is used to control your actions and fear is the motivator will always lead to tragedy. Krista urges women who find themselves is similar circumstances to get out and move on.

As a society, we have not done enough to bring an end to domestic violence.

What makes Krista’s story so compelling is how common it is.

I know there are lots of examples of men who have suffered at the hands of violent women, and this should not be tolerated, either, but the bulk of domestic violence in our province is triggered by men.

I believe it’s men who will have to solve the problem.

Our government can help. Instead of a leaders’ debate during the next election, how about we have a leaders’ round table on domestic violence and the measures government should introduce to try and improve things? It would make a refreshing change of routine.

Krista told her audience that shortly after getting her badge, she was called to a domestic dispute. When she arrived she found a man standing over the body of a young woman who was not quite as lucky as she had been.

A purposeless crime that led to murder.

Krista is right. This madness must end.

Randy Simms is a broadcaster and political commentator. He can be reached at rsimms@nf.sympatico.ca.

Organizations: Council in Labrador City

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Recent comments

  • S
    March 11, 2014 - 11:00

    Useless article. You have not done your homework on the real issues underlying domestic violence. This is a not a problem just for men to solve. There is so much more to this story that you have left out. Nice one paragraph saying it happens to men, trying to seem impartial. Since you like to stereotype, I'll add to it. Men from Newfoundland have a huge macho standard to live up to, and if they are the victims of DV, they won't report it. They'll just suck it up because that's what they've been taught to do. But the problem with that is, everyone has a limit. And when that happens, one might snap against their partner and in defense of them self they will become violent and hurt them. There will be one case of DV reported, the others that the man was subject to in the past won't be. What then? The woman is treated like a victim, but it's her anger and rage that led to to the altercation where she got hurt. If she had counseling services provided to her for her anger management issues first, maybe it wouldn't have happened. You want this social ill to be resolved? It's time to be completely honest. DV is everyone's issue, and women have as much a role to play as men do in dealing with it. ANY kind of DV is wrong.

  • J
    March 09, 2014 - 10:00

    I'm very surprised that The Telegram would publish this piece on the front page of the Saturday edition which basically stereotypes all men as abusers and killers? Would it be so quick to publish any other article stereotyping black people, women, Mexicans, Chinese, etc? It's hard enough being a male in todays society without talking heads putting us down and newspapers empowering them to do so. The war on men must stop. We are all not the enemy and Randy Simms should be ashamed for even suggesting that we are.

  • Doug Smith
    March 09, 2014 - 09:33

    Mr. Simms, timely article, but pretty much useless. You don’t seem to have anything to offer the women getting killed or having the living daylights beaten out of them. The opening lines of your column , “Men are part of the problem and should be part of the solution.” shows a lack of understanding and maybe an unwillingness to confront the truth. The truth is, men are not part of the problem, they are the problem. Mr. Simms, your statement, ‘ I believe it’s men who will have to solve the problem” indicates to me you are not dealing with reality. Just think how women have been treated by men throughout history and you soon realize that from day one, women have been given a second class status which continues to this day. It is clear men’s behaviour toward women will change when women cause it to change. Unless and until women do something about this issue I can’t see the situation changing much. Doug Smith, Grand Falls-Windsor