Something non-abusive to say?

microphone   When’s the last time you listened to someone and realized that what they were saying was verbally abusive. I believe many of us hear it from someone at least once a week; all you have to do is watch the news. I’m not referring to politicians or reality ‘stars’ though. I’m talking about people around you, maybe even family members. How do you handle it?

A coworker and I were talking about that this morning. When you meet someone or know someone who feels it’s their right to speak to you in a derogatory way. Are we meant to just sit and take it because they’re family? What if you’re literally paid to ‘listen to people’ and you receive an earful of abuse, how far does that go before the lioness in you rears up? It’s a difficult situation for many of us.

If you’re in an abusive situation and you hear someone you thought loved and respected you, undermining you daily for no logical reason, how far can they push you? As women many of us were raised to be polite and ‘lady-like’. Developing and then holding on to our personal boundaries takes practice. It’s much easier to hang up on a pushy phone solicitation than it is to tell your spouse that you don’t like the way they’re talking to you. There’s no danger on the phone, in the same house though things could escalate from verbal to physical abuse. How do we develop that line in the sand? How do you teach your kids that they don’t have to listen to abuse from anyone, even family? It’s a process but starting as early as you can with your children will help them understand what’s appropriate advice and what’s just someone’s unsolicited opinion. Look below for some resources on this subject.

The Verbally Abusive Relationship-Patricia Evans

The Verbal and Emotional Abuser:Recognizing the verbally abusive relationship and how to defend yourself-Michele Gilbert

The Nice Girl Syndrome-Stop being manipulated and abused-And start standing up for yourself-Beverly Engel



Say Aah


“Co-dependence…..taking someone else’s temperature to see how you feel” 

   Quote by Linda Ellerbee  (American Journalist)

Co-dependence was once defined by Earnie Larsen as “those self-defeating learned behaviors or character defects that result in a diminished capacity to initiate or to participate in long relationships.” It’s often a term associated with people living with addicts or alcoholics. It’s also most often women; as natural caregivers we often put others’ needs before our own, and someone who is living an addicted life is usually in great need. It can be a hard battle, and even when the support person/wife/co-dependent partner wants to leave they feel immense guilt for what they perceive as abandonment. 

 Anger is another powerful reaction, along with guilt, to living with an addicted person. Whether it’s alcohol or drugs, food or gambling. We often feel like the person should be able to control themselves, after all, we can. We don’t understand why they aren’t as strong willed, we believe that if they loved us they would listen to our pleas and just stop their destructive behavior. Understanding that none of their decisions have to do with us is difficult, but essential. They’ll try to make us believe that they drink or use or eat because of something we said or did. That’s simply wrong. “Sometimes people behave in certain ways to provoke us to react in certain ways. If we stop reacting in these certain ways we take all the fun out of it for them. We remove ourselves from their control and take away their power over us.” Melody Beattie ‘Codependent No More

If you’re living with someone who’s addicted I would advise you to give this book a read.

Recognize any of these?

stress graph        There’s been a lot going on in the world lately and it would be surprising if people everywhere aren’t a bit stressed out by it. Each person also has their own little pocket of anxiety as well as dealing with the global issues. Everyone handles stress differently and few people will have all the symptoms, I posted this chart though so you can see that maybe the symptoms you’re experiencing are stress-related and not some other physical ailment. 

Stress is a strange phenomenon as some people dispel it as not a big deal, and others tell you that ‘Stress Kills’. If you’re already worried about things neither of these approaches are going to help. 

Some of the emotions do ring a bell with me and it made me wonder how long I’ve been just coping with stress and not actually dealing with the cause. Do you have any stress relief tools that you turn to? I like to read and write (more than just this blog by the way). I also like to put on my iPod and walk without thinking, these are safe options and when participated in actually work. Why don’t you think about your stress-relief tools and tell me what you come up with? There’s always room for other options. 


Just Nasty

Nasty People book We have this book at work and I can tell you honestly it’s a good read. No, I haven’t changed the blog to a book report, but when I picked it up it was like he was talking to me. I’m not the nasty one in this situation by the way, I’m the one who’s hurt by them. 

With all the discussions we have in society about assertiveness and boundaries, it’s amazing that so many of us ‘kind-hearted’ people still put up with this little group of tyrants. It would be so easy to sink to their level, (after all in my mind, I’m all the way down there!) Staying strong in your words and decisions is important. Staying calm in the face of verbal and emotional abuse is difficult but like any predator they can sense weakness. What we may consider polite, they see vulnerability. It’s crucial not to let them see you’ve been stung.

It would be so passive-aggressive to just leave the book laying around where the person could see what you’re reading, but if they’re that ‘Nasty’ it wouldn’t penetrate. Jay Carter has a list of reasons that people may be mean (page 94);

1) They didn’t get nurturing

2) They want to get their way

3) Someone was nasty to them

4) They don’t feel good about themselves

5) They have a chemical imbalance. 

Now to my mind and probably in the heart of the average person, numbers 1 and 5 would be sad and we could see how patience with them would be foremost in our minds as nice people. Number 2 is not a valid excuse for being nasty, most humans want to get our way, it’s natural. What isn’t natural is being mean in the process. (More bees with honey than vinegar etc). Number 3 is also a bit lame as an excuse. Almost every human on the planet has had someone who was nasty to them. Some situations don’t bear thinking about; child abuse, sexual abuse, abandonment for example. For the average person though we see it as a part of life, a bullying that leads to a growing/learning experience helping you cope the next time.

Number 4 used to sadden me as a young woman. If someone doesn’t feel good about themselves, why would they turn that into becoming the kind of person who causes others to feel less about themselves? It’s not logical.

Anyway, I enjoyed and learned a fair bit from this book. If you feel you may be either a ‘Nasty and In-violating’ type of person, or could learn how to deal with one in your life check the library or Amazon for a copy of the book, in the meantime..say it with me people. “Take Care of You”.

Are you silent?

quote on oppression  In this busy and chaotic world many of us are in a hurry to get somewhere, we don’t have time or the energy to step in and help someone. Is it really that? Are you in that big a rush to get to work where, let’s face it you could be excused for being late if you stopped and helped a fellow human being from being hurt or robbed on the street. Or, is it that you just don’t want to get involved because you might have to start feeling something? It’s scary being a hero sometimes.

A friend of mine posted something on FB the other day about how he had stopped and helped an elderly accident victim. It was a few minutes out of his day, (which I’m sure is just as busy as ours, knowing him). He received some real positive accolades and likes from friends and acquaintances, but that’s not why he did it. What’s the difference between him and us? Opportunity, kindness, a first aid kit in his car? I don’t know in this case, but I do hope that if someone needed human comfort I would be there to help and not just drive on by. 

The example above is not a case of bullying or domestic violence, it was a road accident, but the premise is the same isn’t it? The B.C. Lions have teamed up (excuse the pun) with the Ending Violence Association of B.C. to promote a program called ‘Be More Than A Bystander’. Some of the players tour through the province and speak to kids/teens about not just being silent when you see someone in trouble. At parties or at school they can speak up in an assertive way to let the victim know they aren’t alone, and the bully/violator know that someone’s watching their movements. Other C.F.L teams have jumped on-board so the message is spreading, ‘Let someone know that you have their back, they aren’t alone’. Take care of you, and those around you because you don’t need a cape and tights to be a hero to someone. 


115px-Portable_violet             The computer at work was down for a couple of weeks so aside from the Executive Director posting (that I put up from home) I haven’t been able to add any thoughts, advice or discussion topics on to the website. It was akin to getting clean. I had no way of relaxing when stressed at work, I only used in the privacy of my own home when it was mandated by a higher authority, and despite having the works right in front of me there was no spark to get things going. I didn’t like it. 

When I’m out with hubby or friends I try very hard not to check my phone, I consider it rude when there are flesh and blood people in front of me, to text those that are out of hugging range. It’s true that there are positives and negatives to all technology; what do you consider a negative? Aside from the cyber stalking and sexting (which should be personal and intimate, not for other’s eyes) concepts. 

Are there other things you’re dependent on to get through the day? Coffee or a cigarette? Medications or exercise, have you ever felt too dependent on another person? That’s when you might have a serious problem. Becoming too attached means that when the other person isn’t there you start to panic, you worry that they might not love you anymore, you might even start following them to make sure they aren’t with someone else. It’s a sign of low self-esteem and lack of confidence in yourself. It might seem romantic to have someone ‘complete you’ but this is real life not the movies. Everyone needs time to themselves, and I mean everyone! If you’re partner is out with friends, call up a pal of your own and have a movie night, or be cool with being on your own and have a personal spa evening. Whatever you decide, take care of you. If someone in your life is with you all the time, not giving you time to breathe or see friends/family maybe it’s time you talked to a counselor, just to see if your instincts are right. 

Executive Director Job Post application details.



THS Logo, hires                                  CSA logo_dk cyan                                      Grace House_colour



Powell River & Region Transition House Society &

Powell River Community Services Association

Closing Date:

Friday, August 17, 2018 at 12:00 noon

To Submit an Application:

Please forward an application with a covering letter, a current curriculum vitae, including four professional references to “The Board Hiring Committee” at Powell River & Region Transition House Society,

209 – 6975 Alberni Street, Powell River, BC, V8A 2B8,

Fax: 1-604- 485-6168

Or, E-mail to:

Thank you for your interest.

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted. Please see the full job description in the other blog post labelled ‘Executive Director Job Posting’.


Executive Director of Powell River & Region Transition House and Powell River Community Services Association.



THS Logo, hires                                                     CSA logo_dk cyan                                              Grace House_colour


Powell River & Region Transition House Society Powell River Community Services Association

Job Description

Position:    Executive Director   

Reports to:    Board of Directors

Purpose of Position:  

The Executive Director provides visionary and practical leadership in two multi-program, non-profit organizations and is responsible for the overall administration and supervision of all seven programs operated by the Powell River & Region Transition House Society and the Powell River Community Services Association.


 -Should possess post-secondary degree in a related field or equivalent combination of training, experience and education. 

 -Must have sound knowledge and understanding in the area of violence against women and children.  

 -Background and skills should include: five to seven years management level experience in a non-profit society, excellent oral and written communication skills and a proven ability to supervise staff and volunteers. 

 -Familiarity working within a unionized environment is preferred.

Key Areas of Responsibility:


- Formulates, develops and implements new or revised policy, goals, operational policies, new program proposals, directions or initiatives, impacts of legislative changes, resource needs and other matters of importance to the agency; 

 -Provides information to and recommends/presents proposals and plans to the Board for review, discussion and approval;

 -Offers guidance and implements decisions of the Board in keeping with all legal and contractual obligations undertaken by the organization;

- Reports monthly to the Board of Directors on the status of the programs; 

 -Alerts the Board promptly of any extraordinary circumstances, including financial, legal or ethical issues that may arise;

 -Ensures proper administration of all record keeping

 -Ensures staffing configurations, scheduling, etc. are in keeping with program needs and funding levels;

 -Strong financial knowledge and experience, including budgeting, analysis, reporting and communicating to the Board, Auditors and Funders;

 -Demonstrated excellence in written communication skills, including the ability to develop and write briefs, proposals, contracts, presentations and reports;

- Ensures flow of communication between Board of Directors and staff and between programs.

Fiscal Management:

 -Prepares annual budgets for each of the seven programs for their specific, provincial funders;

 -In conjunction with the Bookkeeper, prepares annual budgets and cash flow for Board approval and monitors ongoing allocation of resources and monthly financial reports to the board;

 -With Board approval, prepares applications for any and all funding bodies, including seeking new funding sources as appropriate;

 -Works with fundraising committee as required, setting objectives and assisting with initiatives and event coordination.

Personnel Supervision:

 -Coordinates and participates in all staff hiring;

-Provides evaluation of Counselling program staff (Stopping the Violence Counselling and PEACE program, formerly Children Who Witness Abuse),SVSS and PBVS Coordinators and the Grace House Manager;

 -Manages professional development within budget, including assessing, coordinating and recommending staff training requests;

 -Encourages staff input and involvement in the decision-making process where appropriate;

 -Shows a proven ability to provide support and supervision to staff;

 -Keeps current on collective agreement and participates in negotiations as necessary.

Program Service Delivery:

 -Ensures all aspects of Provincially contracted services are fulfilled;

 Works with staff to ensure a high quality of client-based service delivery in the seven programs within the two societies;

 Ensures the physical maintenance of the Main Office and Grace House are             in compliance with Safety Standards required by law.

Community Liaison and Public Relations:

-Establishes and maintains effective relationships with senior and other  government officials: clients and stakeholders, funding sources, volunteers, community groups etc;


 -Communicates, presents and promotes the agency’s services and funding needs to the community etc;

 Represents the agency at community and fundraising events or other official functions;

 -Participates on working committees within the provincial zone, and other groups as an agency advocate.

 -Excellent ability to communicate and negotiate with different levels of government;

 -Possess a strong understanding of the impacts of colonization and experience working with Indigenous people and communities;

 -Possess excellent interpersonal, public relations and networking skills;

 -Possess a strong understanding of violence against women and children and familiarity with current research, understanding and theoretical approaches to working with survivors of violence;

 -Shows creativity and a sense of humour where appropriate;  Understands diplomacy and confidentiality.

Orientation & Training: 

 -Be willing to undertake appropriate professional development as needed.

 -Attend out-of-town meetings and conferences as necessary and appropriate.


 -Must have the ability to function independently, manage projects, meet deadlines, and respond to crisis or emergency situations;

 -Is physically able to support this position;

 -Must have a Satisfactory Criminal Record Clearance; 

     -Maintains a Current BC Driver’s License.

A Road Less Traveled?

roads_paths_photography_04    In lyrics from the theme song for our high school graduation, “Do you know where you’re going to?” (Diana Ross) asked, ‘do you like the things that life is showing you?’ It’s a good question to ask yourself now and then. The second part of the question should be, ‘if  you don’t like what life is showing you, what are you going to do about it?’

Have you ever recalled the ambitions you had as a young person; career choices, travel to distant lands, writing for National Geographic while working part-time for Dian Fossey, (yes those last two were mine, but here I sit, in my 20th year of supporting people). There are people all around you who aren’t doing what they dreamed they would be at this point in their life, are you one of them or did you follow through with your education and employment plans? Are you still married to the first person who caught your heart or have you moved on? Are you at an age where you feel you can follow a different path, the Road Less Traveled perhaps? 

If you’re in a shaky or outright abusive relationship, dreaming about anything besides immediate needs and safety may seem undo-able, expressing a desire for different outcomes to decisions can often be dangerous. How can you maneuver the necessary transition from victim to survivor for you and your children? It’s so much more than ‘just leaving’ isn’t it? Leaving an abusive relationship comes with a lot of pain and worry. The legal process alone is daunting, and the emotional aspects aren’t made any easier by the situation being made public. If you’re reading this and you’re thinking about next steps, please call someone at one of our programs. Even if you’re just working it out in your mind, we’re here for you.

Grace House 604-485-9779

Stopping the Violence Counselling 604-485-6965


Understanding the ‘other side’

Due to some staffing changes our E.D. did the grocery shopping for the house this morning. She declared it mildly frustrating due to all the strangers in town for Kathaumixw, people new to Powell River, (some new to Canada!) We discussed how good it is for people to sometimes do someone else’s job so they appreciate them more. I joked with her and said, “I’m still not doing your agency budgets!”

Math was never my strong point.

I used to say that no matter what you did with numbers; add, subtract, multiply or divide, you just wound up with more numbers. With words, you put them in a certain order and they make sentences, then paragraphs, then finally whole books. (I’m not leaving out prose or poetry when I discuss format here, just trying to keep the scope a bit more narrow). I’m entranced with the minds of people like the late Stephen Hawking, his brain was just so much more advanced than 99% of the population. Professor Hawking died this past March, who knows how much more he could have taught us. I have included one of his quotes, this one seems to fit with my blog theme today. 

Change is a subject I’ve tackled before so I won’t bore you with my thoughts again, suffice it to say, (as my ED did this morning) it’s good to shake things up, to do someone else’s job once in a while so you can get perspective on their challenges and reduce the risk of taking them for granted. Next time you’re tempted to take the same road to work, or make the same dish with your pound of hamburger, try something different, do it for Stephen.

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.  Stephen Hawking

Baby Love

The odd time we get babies in the house, small humans who are for the most part completely trusting. I couldn’t have children, (I may have mentioned that, if so forgive me). I’m way over it now, but every-time I see one, I get a bad case of ‘granny lust’. I have a hard time believing I’m old enough to be a ‘granny’ but some women my age reached that stage years ago! So…here I sit, not a rocker or knitting needles in sight, but the feelings all the same. 

It’s interesting to see the different stages of trust among the younger set. Some will just open their little ‘sectioned’ arms the minute they meet me, some will stare at me for days before they consent to let me hold them if their mom’s busy with something. The second group is savvy, they have to gauge your level of danger to themselves before they submit. They are the ones, especially the girls, I have hope for. They are suspicious, wary and have some boundaries, this should serve them well with other less friendly strangers than yours truly. 

Mothers please teach your children ‘stranger danger’, I’m not just talking about the creepy guy in a van who wants help finding his puppy, or the woman who comes to elementary schools saying they’re there to pick up their ‘grandchild’. I mean anyone. If you have a gathering of people at your house don’t force your child to hug everyone goodnight, if they feel comfortable that’s fine, but honour their hesitation. I’m an unknown to the children we see in the house, I know that and am fine with being evaluated. Don’t apologize for your kids if they don’t leap into someone’s arms at first meeting. Be proud of them for being wary, it could save their life! Take care of you, and your children.

Job posting-Stopping the Violence Outreach.

Stopping the Violence Outreach…

LOCATION: Powell River, British Columbia
EMPLOYER: PR Transition House Society
CATEGORY: Career Opportunities
Stopping the Violence Outreach Program Coordinator -Part time 17.5 hours per week Powell River & Region Transition House Society
The STV Outreach Coordinator will:
-provide support to women who have experienced violence in relationships
-liaise with community organizations
-represent Powell River & Region Transition House Society at various community events
-promote Powell River & Region Transition House Society principles
-facilitate and support clients moving to independent living
-organize and facilitate proactive community workshops, as required.
The successful candidate will have:
-a degree/diploma in social services plus two years experience in community development and/or women’s anti-violence work (Combinations of education and experience will be considered.)
-understanding from a feminist perspective
-high energy -appropriate empathic skills
-a clear understanding of the social and personal effects of domestic violence
-a clear understanding of the importance of safety and confidentiality for women and children
-a current RCMP criminal record check
-access to a safe and dependable vehicle and a Class 5 Driver’s Licence.
Please submit a complete application package, including names of three professional references to Julie Chambers, Executive Director, 209-6975 Alberni Street, Powell River, BC, V8A 2B8, or via email: by Tuesday, June 26, 2018, 4 pm. This is a unionized, part time position which will begin on Tuesday, July 3, 2018. Thank you for your interest in our Society. Only those considered for interview will be contacted.

Job Opportunity


LOCATION: Powell River, British Columbia
EMPLOYER: PR Transition House Society
CATEGORY: Career Opportunities
GRACE HOUSE HOUSE MANAGER 30 hours per week Powell River & Region Transition House Society The Grace House Manager will:
-lead Grace House staff members to positively support women, and their children, who have experienced domestic violence in relationships
-liaise with community organizations on behalf of Grace House
-represent Powell River & Region Transition House Society, specifically Grace House, at various community events
-promote Powell River & Region Transition House Society principles throughout the community
-understand and communicate the limitations of provincial mandates to community agencies
-take responsibility for and direct the day-to-day running of the House
-direct all personnel and human resources for Grace House
-support the Executive Director in management duties related to Grace House.
The successful candidate will have:
-a degree/diploma in Social Services plus five years experience in community development and/or women’s anti-violence work (Combinations of education and experience will be considered.)
-understanding from a feminist perspective
-high energy
-appropriate empathic skills
-a clear understanding of the social and personal effects of domestic violence
-a clear understanding of the importance of safety and confidentiality for women and children
-a current RCMP criminal record check
-access to a safe and dependable vehicle and a Class 5 Driver’s Licence.
Please submit a complete application package, including names of three professional references to Julie Chambers, Executive Director, 209-6975 Alberni Street, Powell River, BC, V8A 2B8, or via email: by Wednesday, July 18, 2018, 4 pm. This is a non-unionized, part time management position which will begin on Wednesday, August 22, 2018. Thank you for your interest in our Society. Only those considered for interview will be contacted.

Summer is here!

westcoastsummer   June 21st, the longest day in the calendar year, is here. Are you excited, are you so happy that winter is over and that beach activities are in your future? I’m more of an autumn girl myself but in the spirit of not rushing time/life, we’ll go along with summer for now. So, back to work today after my excursion to the nation’s capital. It was an amazing workshop, and I came back with lots of ideas and information to share.

One of the courses I attended talked about adapting the transition houses for women with communication challenges (ours not theirs). To put up signs on cupboard doors augmenting the written descriptions we have already, perhaps some braille or pictures showing what’s in each. We also talked about developing some hand out sheets or pamphlets in braille. We sometimes go along through life assuming that other people communicate like we do. Unless you’re in a field of work that supports people who learn differently you just don’t consider it. Another workshop I attended discussed technology safety. We learned about all the security measures we can put on our own phones and devices and how to support others to do the same. We learned about all the ways there were now for someone to stalk their partner using location GPS type apps. Check out the interview below for all the scary ways that people can be tracked!

deuxieme jour (day two)

microphone   Today started in a wonderful way, (considering I got 0 sleep again). After breakfast at the university we walked en masse to the nearby Shaw Center for the second day in a row. This is where we have the morning plenary sessions and speakers. This morning we had the Dandelion Dance Performance Company perform about 8 interpretive pieces for us. They are a unique troupe; made up of young women from all walks of life, builds and experiences. Many of their pieces come about as the results of personal beliefs, things that matter to them. They defy social pressures to be perfectly made up, have socially acceptable bodies, and they do pieces that speak out loud. The dances today covered hunger, children’s rights, inclusion etc. A very powerful and uplifting start to the day. If these young women are examples of our nations future we are in good hands.

Following these young women was a movie clip and speech from Alanis Obamsawin. She has been producing films for over 50 years, showing us through song and her films how she has advocated for her people, the Abenaki Nation. We watched a portion of her film ‘No Address’ about the first nations people in Montreal and how the move from their home territories to the city of Montreal has caused rampant poverty and homelessness. Following this impassioned piece we watched as four women from diverse cultures described their views on how to reduce barriers to VAW services.

After trooping back over the bridge to the campus for lunch, we all split into a wide variety of workshops as we did yesterday. Any workshop that has a French component involved requires headsets for translation, (obviously that goes the other way for the English speakers addressing Francophone participants) it’s great to see that everyone can be involved in the workshops they choose regardless of the language. I chose the workshop that dealt with the links between VAW and homelessness. It’s troubling but not surprising, women make the decisions to stay or go often not knowing what leaving is going to bring about. Is it the same as deciding between the devil and the deep blue sea? Sometimes it is. With little to no affordable housing (and by the way pretty much everyone I’ve talked to out here has the same message as our city, we are not alone).

The second workshop was probably my favourite so far in that it dealt with the media, websites, dealing with community partners. It was called ‘Promoting Women’s Safety through Political Engagement and the News Media’.

Aside from a newspaper story and council visit regarding the Purple Light Night, the ads for VAW weeks each year, and the great coverage around the annual Shoe Memorial, our agency doesn’t do a lot around media coverage. We rely on our STVO to educate the Powell River people about our services through placement of cards/pamphlets and doing public education speaking engagements. Is this enough? Do Powell Riverites know what services we provide? I’m hoping this website can answer some questions anyway. If there’s something you’d like to see covered or answered about us, let me know. Thanks from Ottawa!

My Trip…so far

canada1So I’m currently in Ottawa, that’s right, our nation’s capital! I’m here for a conference and it’s pretty cool to meet women who work in the anti-violence field from all across Canada. Today I attended the opening ceremony and two fascinating workshops. The first one was on how transition houses/programs can better serve those with disabilities. It’s actual title was ‘Accessibility and Inclusion in the Shelter System Beyond the Wheelchair and Ramp: An Intersectional Approach. This covered not only those women with hearing and vision reductions, physical and ABI challenges, but women dealing with Autism Spectrum conditions, Down’s Syndrome etc. It was a varied group that attended and we’ll all take something back to our home agencies. For this writer it’s paying more attention to the house itself. Do we have enough signs (in braille or pictures) to augment the written ones we have already? Is our physical space adaptable to women using wheelchairs. Do we have braille hand out sheets instead of written ones for seeing clients? Some things to think about.

The second workshop was called ‘The Link Between Physical and Mental Wellbeing and Trauma’. The first presentation was on a group of women who had already fled relationship abuse paddling with a group of women still living with it. As a Dragon Boat Paddler (semi-retired) I can attest to the feeling of working with other women to attain a goal. Watching the video I could feel the spray on my face and my muscles contracted with each stroke they took. It was cool to see that groups beyond the Breast Cancer survivors are realizing the benefits; both physical and mental of paddling as a team! The second part was on Yoga practice for women in Transition House/2nd Stage housing and what the breathing and awareness can do to help with stress .Anyway, there’s a storm brewing in Ottawa tonight, I have to get dressed for the networking dinner so I’ll leave the lessons for today with you. Take care of you.




The effects of sleep deprivation

While it may seem like losing sleep isn’t such a big deal, sleep deprivation has a wide range of negative effects that go way beyond daytime drowsiness. Lack of sleep affects your judgment, coordination, and reaction times. In fact, sleep deprivation can affect you just as much as being drunk.

The effects include:


*Fatigue, lethargy, and lack of motivation

*Moodiness and irritability; increased risk of depression

*Decreased sex drive; relationship problems

*Impaired brain activity; learning, concentration, and memory problems

*Reduced creativity and problem-solving skills; difficulty making decisions

*Inability to cope with stress, difficulty managing emotions

*Premature skin aging

*Weakened immune system; frequent colds and infections; weight gain

*Impaired motor skills and increased risk of accidents; hallucinations and delirium

*Increased risk of serious health problems including stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain cancers

How sleep deprivation can add to your waistline

Ever noticed how when you’re short on sleep you crave sugary foods that give you a quick energy boost? There’s a good reason for that. Sleep deprivation has a direct link to overeating and weight gain.

There are two hormones in your body that regulate normal feelings of hunger and fullness. Ghrelin stimulates appetite, while leptin sends signals to the brain when you are full. However, when you don’t get the sleep you need, your ghrelin levels go up, stimulating your appetite so you want more food than normal, and your leptin levels go down, meaning you don’t feel satisfied and want to keep eating. So, the more sleep you lose, the more food your body will crave.’


I didn’t post this today because I’m on my third 12 hour shift and have had a total of 12 hours sleep in the last 3 nights, honestly. It just occurred to me that there are a lot of people out there who don’t get enough REM hours (and I’m not talking about the band) every night. For a woman who is in the midst of an abusive relationship, trying to deal with a volatile partner, children, perhaps a job; keeping everything together on no sleep can seem insurmountable. Ask if there’s anything you can do to help out, perhaps take the kids for a few hours so she can get some rest, it might seem like a little thing, but we know how much stronger and clear thinking we are when we get some down time!

The other side.

domestic-violence-quote-3-picture-quote-1      In the Specialized Victim Support Services program, the coordinator and her co-worker have a mandate to support male victims of crime as well as female. It is essential that male survivors of physical and/or sexual assault understand that they have the same rights. If you are or know of someone who is dealing with current or historical abuse please call them for support. I have included the essay below so that people are aware women are not the only victims of relationship abuse.

(Apologies for the old stats but they were the most current I could access)


‘According to a Statistics Canada study in 2005, the likelihood of a man being the victim of abuse by his female partner is almost the same as it is for a woman. Approximately 600,600 women and 585,100 men aged 15 and over reported domestic violence in the five years prior to a 2009 survey (Mahony, 2011). Many men experience violence from their partners just as women do, however men do not have the same support systems from society. Many people overlook the abuse men receive.  Our gender expectations that have men living up to particular masculine ideals lead to an under reporting of their victimization.

While the frequency of domestic violence experienced by women and men are similar, women are more likely to experience more serious forms of violence. The majority of abused women and men claimed that the most serious violence they experienced was being pushed, shoved or slapped. Female victims of domestic violence reported that the most serious violence used against them involved being beaten, choked, or threatened with a hand gun or knife, compared with male victims who were more likely to report that the most serious violence they experienced was being kicked, bitten, hit or hit with something. Among those who stated that they had been injured, 75% of men and 95% of women victims reported that bruises were the most common form of injury, while 59% of male victims and only 30% of female victims reported suffering cuts, scratches or burns.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, men who are abused by their female partner find it difficult to maintain the self-reliant, independent, tough, strong and masculine ideal for men that are expected by society.

In their study of men who were abused by a female partner, the men reported feeling emasculated, marginalized, and embarrassed, which made them reluctant to talk to someone about the issue or express their fears. When they spoke of their experience, the men claimed that they received reactions of disbelief, surprise and skepticism from friends, neighbors, and the staff of domestic abuse shelters, legal-based institutions and hospitals.

It is clear that the numbers of men and women victimized by domestic violence are becoming more equal than in previous years, however the number of men who are victimized but do not come forward is a problem. Society’s masculine ideal prevents many men from coming forward out of fear of looking weak. They do not have the same support women receive in cases where they are victimized which is an inequality that should be addressed in Canada’.

Written by Natasha Russell



Grandin, E. & Lupri, E. Intimate Partner Abuse Against Men, Public Health Agency of Canada (2009, November 26). Link.

Mahony, Tina Hotton. “Women and the Criminal Justice System,” Women in Canada: A Gender-based Statistical Report, Statistics Canada (2011). Link.

Statistics Canada. Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (2011). 12- 15 Link.

The Daily. Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile, Statistics Canada. (2005). Link.






















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Victims and Survivors of Crime Week

May 27th-June 2nd is Victims and Survivors of Crime Week. It’s not a light 7 days but people need to be recognized;not only those who were victimized in some way, but also those who step up and help out during and afterwards.  This group includes, but is not limited to; RCMP, Community and Specialized Victim Support Services, Transition House staff, Therapists (including therapy animals), and Restorative Justice workers. 

For the victims of crime, to become the survivors of crime it’s essential that they have their say, their day in court or in a support circle. Crime covers so many areas, and therefore encompasses a wide range of reactions. From being a store clerk robbed at gun point to someone stalked by an ex-partner, from having your house vandalized to being raped at a party, the victim is the one who deals with the feelings for a long time afterwards. If you’re interested in more information about what communities are doing to honour the week, check out the link below. If you are a victim of crime, either recently or historically and you’re having a hard time coping, see the links on the website to our agency’s programs and others in the area.

Change isn’t just good, it’s essential

change     Writing this blog sometimes requires coming up with new topics/ideas that reach out to people on a weekly basis. Trying not to be preachy or counselor sounding while sticking to the website’s purpose is not always easy. My main audience is women seeking help (or their support system) so the topics need to be streamlined and informative. Doing research through industry manuals and handouts, and pulling articles from other resources that address family violence come in handy when the information in my own head has taken a day off. 

Change is integral to growth, it’s also one of the hardest things many of us do. It’s especially hard when it’s out of our control or at a time when we weren’t ready to change. Moving apartments or jobs, becoming parents or trading in your beloved vehicle are all big decisions, but they are often things you’ve given some thought to.  Leaving an abusive relationship comes with a lot of painful choices. After all, you loved this person, it’s hard to reconcile the person you knew with this one who continually hurts you. Leaving or having them leave means the kids losing their father, changing neighborhoods and schools, reduced household income, trying to find a place to live in the first place, explaining to friends, family and co-workers why you split up the family, going to court for family or criminal matters. It’s a big, scary decision and perhaps the reason so many women are staying and trying to work it out?

The quote above makes changing sound easy, we know it’s not in most circumstances. Humans as a species detest change, comfort and routine help us know that nothing scary is going to get us. Eating the same food at the same restaurant means we don’t have to try something different and maybe be disappointed. If you never do anything different though, if you never climb outside your happy space, how will you know what else is out there? As I write this a couple of women I know are moving on in their lives, both are doing something positive for them but scary and full of change nonetheless. I applaud them both for taking a look over the cliff and deciding that now’s the time to leap into the unknown. For the rest of you, if you’re looking to make a similar leap, call someone at the agency for the use of our parachutes!

Re-reading and reaching out.

I had a bit of time on my hands this morning, not much just a little. I decided to re-read some of the old blog posts, to see how often I repeat myself theme wise. It’s not too bad actually; my worst fear is boring people to tears, seriously. I’m not really afraid of spiders or snakes or heights. I am afraid of people thinking I’m pedantic and repetitive.

As a former speaker/stand up comic and current writer/blogger I’m probably more aware of it in others. I listen to people speaking all the time and can almost hear my own eyes roll when a story is told for the eighth time, or when a sports announcer seems to get stuck on the ‘amazing’ page in his thesaurus.

That being said, we all roll out favourite tales and anecdotes when a subject comes up we know something about; a guy brings up his recent fishing triumph and the rest of the party interject their own. A woman relates how long she was in labor and the other mothers in the group try and top her time. It’s basic human instinct. In my mind I know that, my patience isn’t always tied to my brain though.

What I noticed about the over 100 blog posts is that in several of them I have asked people to comment, suggest, opine, and only one person has. My good friend will often send me messages with her take on a subject, as a fellow writer she has an understanding of my need for feedback. (Immediate gratification if you will). So is it just good manners, is it that old phrase ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?’ Anyway, my ego and my computer keyboard will go on. 




Motherhood, a day late.

tc-mothersquotes-0005-6-1492117084    Some of my favourite women are mothers. My own mom of course, my sister, most of my friends and quite a few of my co-workers. It’s a combination of challenges, jobs, roles, and responsibilities. I didn’t have children, not for lack of wanting them, it just didn’t work out. I am a caregiver though.

I know from watching my own mother that the definition of motherhood is a vast one. How much she’s sacrificed for the three of us, worried about us in and out of relationships, supported the grandchildren and welcomed a variety of in-laws throughout the years. She’s an amazing role model, outgoing and kind, continually researching things she’d like to learn about, she’s volunteered for a lot and has taught us all that giving back to the community makes you a better community member. I have people telling me all the time what a lucky woman I have to have her as my mom, I couldn’t agree more! 

In my job I see some women struggling to just get through the days, they’re emotional and overwhelmed and yet still spend time with their children. Some have their kids stay with relatives while they try to figure life out. Some are reluctant to go for treatment as they’ll miss their children, maybe not realizing that by going and succeeding at recovery they’ll be that much stronger for their kids in the end. Not everyone has a healthy relationship with their mother or with their kids, some people have lost their mother to death, or family separation. Whatever the case, I hope you took the day to appreciate some woman in your life yesterday.

Grief comes to us all.

Kerzenlicht   This past weekend my mother, some friends and I joined in the ‘Hike for Hospice’. it wasn’t a long hike, but being there was necessary as we wanted to help raise awareness and money for the program. We had really positive experiences with the hospice/palliative nurses at the end of dad’s life. The walk through the Willingdon Beach Trail was as beautiful as ever, and as my parents used to enjoy that walk it was even more poignant.

This post is geared to helping those who are grieving, the most common issue we have as humans is ‘not knowing what to say or do’. The most important thing you can do for anyone who is grieving is LISTEN and not judge!

It is helpful to:

  • Allow them their feelings rather than trying to talk them out of the feelings or tell them they shouldn’t feel that way.
  • Let them be how they are instead of trying to judge or fix them.
  • Let them know that you can see and hear their pain, anger, frustration, guilt and that you think it’s okay for them to have those feelings.
  • Let them tell you how they feel rather than telling them that you know how they feel.
  • Talk to them from your perspective rather than using cliches such as, “it was their time.” You might say something like, “it’s hard to understand why these things happen.” Or, “I can see you’re really hurting.”
  • Be honest. If your grieving friend asks you for information that you have, tell them the truth.
  • Share stories about the person who died. Something funny or a wonderful memory can be a very positive experience.
  • Be patient with them. Give them space and time to do their grieving. However, it is usually difficult for grievers to reach out because of low energy and difficulty concentrating. Calling them and initiating getting together for coffee and a chat is very helpful.
  • Know that it may seem they are being inconsiderate of your feelings for awhile. Don’t be too offended. They may be feeling overwhelmed and not aware of what is going on for other people around them.
  • Talk about the person who died in a natural way. Don’t avoid the topic but don’t go on and on about it either. It helps to share memories, even if your friend cries or is sad. They appreciate that someone will talk to them about the person who died.
  • Provide food, run errands, mow the lawn, clean the house, take over a job they don’t have the energy to do. Call and ask if you can do a specific job. Don’t wait for them to call!

*This list was found in a folder at work. It’s not my original material, but it does all make sense. 


Restorative Justice Training

Hello gentle readers, I am taking this opportunity to let you know of some valuable and amazing training coming to Powell River. There has been a lot of interest in Restorative Justice in British Columbia of late. This may be due to concern over court room backlogs, or just a desire on the part of the population looking for alternatives to ‘just jail’ Please read the information below and sign up for the workshop. Thank you. Maureen
WHEN:             Friday 1st June to Sunday 3rd June 2018
TIME:               9.00 TO 5.00 PM Friday and Saturday, 9.00 – 4.00 PM Sunday
WHERE:           Board Room School District 47, 4351 Ontario, Powell River
COST:  Pay what you can between $30 and $75. This includes a copy of the book “Peace Making Circles – from Crime to Community” and lunch each day.
Learn the advantages of restorative justice and how you can contribute to RJ in Powell River Region, from one of the best:
BARRY STUART—former Chief Judge of the Territorial Court of Yukon
“I found as the Chief Judge the use of Restorative Justice and particularly the use of Peacemaking circles made an enormous difference in all crimes in achieving all justice objectives. Particularly in serving the needs of victims, in the rehabilitation and accountability of offenders, and in engaging the essential resources of communities. The most important contribution of peace making circles arises from generating collaborative partnerships among all agencies and the community, and in raising the awareness within communities of the instrumental changes they can make in building healthy families and safe communities.”