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 email@example.com.