End Abuse is a program of the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) of British Columbia. They provide support groups for women, accountability groups for men, and resources and workshops on understanding abuse and power for professionals and organizations. We spoke with Co-Coordinator Lydia Fawcett to learn more about what they do.
Describe your charity/non-profit/volunteer work in a few sentences.
End Abuse is a program of MCCBC that supports women who have experienced harm in intimate partner relationships, as well as men who have harmed, and organizations that want to learn how to build healthy, respectful relationships with their community members. We provide support groups for women, accountability groups for men, and resources and workshops on understanding abuse and power for professionals and organizations.
MCC is a worldwide ministry of Anabaptist churches. We respond to basic human needs and work for peace and justice locally and around the world. We envision communities in right relationship with one another, creation, and God.
What problem does it aim to solve?
We want women who have experienced abuse to grow healthy courage, wisdom, and new skills; men who have perpetrated abuse to be accountable and responsible for their behaviour, and to learn new tools for engaging in healthy, respectful relationships. We encourage all participants to learn new skills, work toward change, and make better decisions with the new information that they gain.
When did you start/join it?
End Abuse has been holding women’s groups since 2004; men’s groups have been active since 2013. Support for organizations and churches has been available since 2008. I began in this work in 2018.
What made you want to get involved?
While working in the Child Protection system in BC, I witnessed the effects of abuse in families and worked toward services that supported wholeness for women and children in the aftermath of violence. I also experienced abuse in my own family, which impacted my choices and behaviour as an adult and partner. While working for the Yukon Government in Family and Children Services, I saw the impacts of violence toward women. The Women’s Directorate and FCS worked collaboratively to bring training to White Horse for professionals in the fields of child welfare, probation, policing, and family services. This training was provided by Dr Alan Wade and was an important part of redefining and understanding the dynamics of abuse in relationships for me. After retiring from government work, I learned about the End Abuse program in 2017, volunteered for 9 months, and was hired in a part-time position in the Fall of 2018.
What was the situation like when you started?
We have not needed to look for participants for our women’s or men’s groups. There is always a demand and often a waiting list, as the cases of domestic violence rise.
How has it changed since?
A change we have noticed just this year is the increased level of violence that women are experiencing in intimate partner relationships. In the current group, over 75% of the female participants have experienced physical violence from their partners.
What more needs to be done?
Educating young people about respectful relationships, understanding consent, and acknowledging the value of all persons regardless of differences in sexuality, belief systems, education, or socio-economic status. Respectful Futures is a curriculum developed by one of the trainers of our program; she developed it for the Surrey School District. We hope to see it implemented in other school districts and youth programs:
How can our readers help?
Incorporate Peaceful Practices into everyday life: Be curious; inviting diversity of ideas and opinions. Discover new insights and focus on what matters. Engage with others and invite the best in yourself and others. Learn the difference between dialogue and debate; practice dialogue. Build empathy; seek to understand rather than persuade. Be authentic; speak from the heart sharing your own thinking and experiences. Be aware of power dynamics. Be creative and welcome various expressions of thought and action. MCC’s Peacebuilding Practices guide speaks to this.
Do you have any events coming up?
Understanding Abuse Training: A training event for Counsellors, Students, Pastors, Support Workers, and Advocates. March 31-April 2, 2023.
Where can we follow you?
Resources on ending abuse can be found here.
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
SARA (Support, Acceptance, Resources, Action) for Women, Abbotsford and Mission.
Abby Dad’s and Stop The Violence, Archway Community Services, Abbotsford.
Sardis Doorway for Mothers & Children, Chilliwack