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A victim of domestic abuse made a post to social media last month sharing her experience and also giving advice to people in a similar situation.
Her name is Melissa Ann on Facebook and she released the post on April 9. In it are pictures showing the bruising and injuries she received as a result of domestic abuse.
She starts off the post by addressing it "To his next victim," and continues to explain the manipulative traits of her abusive ex-boyfriend.
"He may seem like the sweetest guy on earth, and he will make you feel as such, on his good days at least... He wants you to have friends, but you won't be able to see them, and if you do, you will hear about it after. He will want you to be happy, as long as you do what he wants."
The two met online and dated for five months—eventually moving in together for one month. The first time he abused Melissa, he broke her nose, but she hid the injury from her family and friends out of embarrassment and ended up forgiving him.
He eventually lost control again but the next time was more serious and Melissa ended up in the hospital.
"I beg you ladies (and guys too!)," the post continues, "PLEASE be safe out there. Don't ignore those Red flags and your gut feeling.. It’s probably right. And DO NOT give them a second chance. They don’t deserve it!!!"
"One of the hardest things to do is walk away from your abuser, but you have to before it’s too late."
Her abuser’s original court date was cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions but The Post Millennial was in touch with RCMP National Headquarters who said that the man, Travis Short, is being charged with one count of Aggravated Assault and has a new court date in Red Deer on June 15.
Some advocacy groups are reporting higher rates of domestic abuse incidents in Canada as people are more confined to their homes during the pandemic.
RCMP provided The Post Millennial with statistics on the subject. They said that in Alberta: “statistics for Domestic Files are "K" Division: 2,151 (2019), 2,351 (2020).”
The statistics show a year-over-year change of 9 percent and are provided from April 15 to May 19 for both 2019 and 2020. Information covering the entire pandemic was not readily available.
The group provides support and educational services to domestic violence victims across the country. Before physical distancing measures were being implemented in Canada, colleagues in China warned MacDougall that a "tsunami" of abuse would come along as a side effect of the pandemic. The advocacy group began increasing support measures as a result.
BWSS started keeping their support line open 24/7 after women’s shelters and transition houses reached capacity or closed down due to coronavirus concerns.
"As soon as we went 24/7, our calls steadily increased progressively – 50 per cent to a hundred percent until the peak at 300 per cent," MacDougall said. "That ends up being a lot of calls for us, a little organization based in Vancouver, but we have the capacity and we scaled up really quickly with our trained staff in order to respond to the needs from all parties all across the country."