Victoria Women’s Transition House Society hopes to spotlight domestic abuse sharing an award-winning film.
“We wanted to increase public awareness and encourage dialogue and discussion around domestic violence,” said Marianne Sorensen, development manager for the society. “Transition House, through all of its programs and through its mandate, is wanting to create a society that is striving to prevent and eliminate abuse and build strong, healthy resilient families.”
Heaven on Earth, by Canadian director and writer Deepa Mehta, tells the story of a young woman who travels from India to Canada to marry, and becomes trapped with an abusive husband. The feature film presents a sensitive portrayal of the young woman’s experiences of domestic violence and her efforts to free herself.
Organizers felt the film was a way to demonstrate the issue and show how “strong and resilient and courageous women are” in that situation.
The showing falls intentionally during National Victims of Crime Awareness Week – April 19 to 25. Victoria Women’s Transition House seeks to increase public awareness and encourage discussion and dialogue around the issue of domestic violence.
Each year in Canada, an estimated 362,000 children witness or experience family violence. Last year Victoria Women’s Transition House 24-hour Crisis and Support Line received 2,037 calls; 153 children and 106 mothers or caregivers participated in individual counselling sessions through the Children Who Witness Abuse program.
“We’re not wanting to paint a really dark picture either for the community,” Sorensen said. “Domestic violence is still, to some extent, a little bit hidden. Lots of good change has happened and lots of good programming is in place, but the fact remains domestic violence is still an issue in families.”
The year marks Victoria Women’s Transition House Society’s 40th year working collaboratively to provide emergency shelter, support, counsel and education to women of all ages, with or without children, so that they can live free from the effects of abuse in intimate relationships.
Heaven on Earth runs Thursday, April 23 at 7 p.m. in Cinecenta, University of Victoria. Admission by donation.
The society will also use the opportunity to tell the public about its programs and services. Learn more about the four women’s transition houses in Greater Victoria online at transitionhouse.net.