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How Interval House helps raise domestic violence awareness [VIDEO]

Interval House video on domestic violence

Interval House in Toronto is Canada’s oldest center for abused women and children. It recently contributed efforts to produce a video that tackles the issue of domestic violence. I hope that the video will generate constructive conversation toward ending domestic violence.

About the Interval House video on domestic violence

Recently, Interval House partnered with KBS Toronto to create the “Alternative Ending” video after the media storm and public outcry of the video in which NFL’s Ray Rice knocked out his partner Janay Parker. The domestic violence in the Ray Rice video was difficult for me to watch, but I was not impressed with public comments about why she stayed with him.

Having been one of the abused women out there, I know it’s not a choice. Often the victim is scared to leave due to verbal threats from the abuser or is brainwashed into believing that the abusive actions are done out of love.

In the new video “Alternative Ending,” a couple is in an argument behind closed elevator doors. I thought to myself as I watched it that the elevator doors could easily be swapped for the front door of a house or a bedroom door. Much violence occurs secretly behind closed doors. In the other video of Ray Rice, it’s obvious that he assumed the elevator incident was private and not caught on tape.

Watch the “Alternative Ending” video here:

In “Alternative Ending,” the elevator doors open, and a second woman walks in. She leaves with the initial woman in the video. The initial woman is not abused as she leaves the situation before that can happen.

The video offers a strong message that there are solutions for domestic violence, and it’s important to educate people about them. Rather than saying, “Why did she stay?” let’s say, “Why did he hit her?”

OR better yet, for those currently in domestic violence situations, “How can an abused woman get out of there NOW?” And that help that a woman needs NOW can come from you, me, or someone else who steps into that elevator and reaches out a hand to assist her.

A final note

Of course, I realize that men are victims of domestic abuse too. I recently met one, and he opened up to me about it. I am focusing here on women being abused because the post centers around the Interval House, which is a shelter for abused women and children.

36 thoughts on “How Interval House helps raise domestic violence awareness [VIDEO]”

  1. Domestic abuse is a terrible crime, thanks so much for this great post, Christy! The strength needed to get out of a miserable relationship is often stolen by the abuser, unfortunately, but thank God tides change! You are assisting the tides, dear, bravo! ♥♥♥;^)

  2. Christy!… I missed this post… I found your message immensely important and your words are always accurate… Also thanks for spreading awareness through this video
    You have mentioned at the end that men can also be victims of abuse and sometimes this is most times put aside. Violence is violence.
    Thank you very much for sharing and best wishes to you, Aquileana :D

    1. I hope you don’t mind if I add this video over here… An alternative sense of what Domestic Violence can mean.

      “40% of domestic violence is against men in the UK. Violence is violence, no matter who it’s aimed at”

      Thank you, Chris!, Love, Aquileana <3

    2. Christy Birmingham

      I appreciate that you added the video here Aqui to add more attention to the plight of men. Thank you! xxoo

  3. A good post about a very real issue.

    As D.G.Kaye implies, abuse is not just physical though, it can be mental too. I was married to someone who bossed me around daily, criticised me most of the time, and never had anything good to say about me. I would often get the phrase “you didn’t even….”, implying, on top of all the other things I screwed up, I couldn’t even do the simplest of things. Thankfully that marriage is over, and should probably have never happened as my ex- has such a strong character and I am much softer. But it was not me who ended the relationship, it was my ex- once it seemed that I was of no use whatsoever. And why did I not end it? Maybe I was afraid that I would never find anyone again who might love me….. and, with a lot of changes in my life happening, I’m still afraid of that……

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Andrea, thanks for the comment and astute words. Personally I found that emotional abuse cut deeper than physical did – and it left me weak long after the relationship ended. I am sad you went through that abuse and thankful that it ended, regardless of whose decision it ultimately was to do so.

      As for you receiving love, you are deserving of it. I know simply by our online communications that you have a big heart. I also think it is brave of you to be on the journey you are taking as it is a step toward being the you that is at your core. I am here to tell you that you have friendship here and that you are stronger than you realize in this moment.

    2. Thank u so much :-)

      I suppose my journey has only started in earnest in recent years, but I have felt strongly about many of the subjects you write about for a LONG time. I read today that Malala Yousafzai shared the Novel Peace Prize for her amazing campaigning for girls’ education – how lovely… and yet only 16 out of 95 winners to-date have been women.

    3. Christy Birmingham

      Malala is an inspiration, for sure! Yes, having more female Nobel Prize winners would be wonderful in the NEAR future!

  4. Great message Christy. The video of the elevator is a very good vehicle in conveying this message. I was raised in a building that had an elevator, and when I was 12, a man got inside the elevator with me and began to masturbate. Since I was only 12 and he didn’t touch me, I was frightened of course, but got over it. Your post is a very good example of what can happen, not only in elevators, but in very enclosed and isolated spaces. Thanks for bringing this out into the open.

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Oh Maria I am glad he didn’t touch you and that you are safe. It is scary and nowadays there are so many places it could happen… I hope people understand the wider message of the video and that it’s not just about elevators. Thanks for opening up to me and for being a good friend.

    2. Seeing the elevator brought me the memory of that event, even though it’s not really domestic violence per se, but more of “sexual violence”. This type of conduct is called “Exhibitionism”:

      “Class II: Pure Exhibitionists

      These people are content with just showing off their genitals from a distance and masturbating. They do not touch their victims or actually do them any harm.”

      It’s also a form of “apodysophilia” from the family of “Paraphilia”-

  5. Christy, I continue to admire your efforts to share so many important issues on this blog. You are brave to mention your own abuse as it is a very personal subject to talk about. In my new and soon to be released book, Words We Carry, it is written as essays on women’s self-esteem issues, told from my own experiences. I also talk about abuse that I endured in one of the chapters. I feel this book is important for the many women who are subjected to people who demean them and don’t seem to be able to find a way out. My book is by no means a ‘self help’ book, but more about my overcoming tactics I share, hoping to inspire others who have trouble elevating their own self worth. So it seems my book and many of your posts have a lot in common. :)

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Deb, When your book is released, please contact me and we will feature it here on this blog (if you want to, of course). I think it would be so valuable to have more discussion on self-worth and how women struggle with the concept. Thanks for your support here too! :)

    2. Wow, thanks so much Christy! I would be honored to talk about my book on your ‘womens’ page! I will definitely let you know. It should be published by the week after next. :) Thanks so much! <3

  6. Sigh!
    Christy, women must stand up against brutish behavior, as early and as young as possible.
    I know from experiences… but… there are difficulties.

    The alternative elevator outcome is great, but how often does this opportunity happen?
    I believe, a lot more than we think, but still the woman being abused does not always take advantage (due to ardent fear), as the woman in the video does.
    Perhaps we need special woman to woman tells… codes to let the other woman know when we are, too, fearful of following her ( or him, because it could a knowing man) out of the elevator…. out of danger.
    Lock eyes, blow a kiss, nod… some way of saying to the 3rd person…I AM AFRAID… IN DANGER!
    The crazy thing is, even if we had a code, by the time we could respond through safe and legal challenges, the worst could have happened.
    Therefore, beyond actions the abused can take, it is the abuser who needs the wrath of learning a lesson in truth.
    How do we teach men, people who inflict their perceived superiority on others to be decent players?
    …So much more …….

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Hi Resa,
      What a thought-provoking comment about having a ‘code’ in place between women. I think in theory that works but unfortunately many women wouldn’t use it for fear of somehow angering the man beside her in the elevator. Perhaps instead we can increase awareness of the warning signs of domestic violence so women walk away from a relationship at the first warning sign, stopping the incident before it even becomes a soon-to-be reality. I only hope that more positives are to come. Thank you for your support here and for actively contributing to conversations that I hope are making the world a little more wise on some level.

    2. Thanks, Christy!
      I hope for positives. as well.
      Increased awareness.will go a long ways. Also, there is another part to this equation. Men must be educated and made aware. Men should know about kindness more, and knuckles less.
      I would like to say something on behalf of men here.
      Although it is to a much lesser degree, some men are abused by their woman.
      Abuse is not always physical.

    3. Christy Birmingham

      Hi Resa, Yes, if you look at the post again you will note that I made mention that men are victims too. The reason I wrote about women here is that Interval House and the video focus on females rather than males. And sadly emotional abuse goes far deeper than the physical touch… I am thankful for your friendship, Resa.

    4. Yes, you did! You made a note at the bottom. A lesson to me that if I am going to make a second comment after time has passed, I should re-read the article to avoid redundancy!
      Thank you for everything, Christy!

  7. Excellent post. It’s clear from some of the comments I’ve heard after the Ray Rice incident that we need more education and awareness. Instead of focusing on the problem and the behavior of the abuser, people tend to blame the victim. Thank you for pointing out that fear often makes it almost impossible for the woman to leave. People who have never been in an abusive relationship can’t comprehend the manipulation and control that goes on behind closed doors. Thank you for posting this.

    1. Christy Birmingham

      I appreciate your comment, Tricia. The level of control runs deep and abusers are master-manipulators. You have no idea how much your understanding here means to me personally. Thank you.

  8. Christy, I will never forget while in the emergency room with my husband (he had an accident while trimming bushes) overhearing a nurse say “you would be surprised what goes on behind closed doors, even the best and most expensive doors.” Domestic violence is a much larger issue than people will admit to, and extends to both men and women, the very young and the very old. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Michelle, so true about the secretness of domestic violence. It doesn’t play favorites, that’s for sure. Thanks for sharing your story here and for taking time to visit and comment (I always appreciate you!)

  9. I remember years ago, delivering some donated items to a shelter for abused women and children. I was not allowed to go inside and luckily I had two ladies working with me, who were able to take the items inside. Abuse is not discriminatory and it does take more voices to speak up and speak out. Thank you Christy for your voice and this wonderful post.

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Oh Syl, you are wonderful to have donated to the shelter! Thank you for the kind spirit you bring to the world.

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Rebecca, thank you. It is true that it just takes one voice to offer a new view for change to start to happen (you totally got the message here and I love that!)

  10. Hi Christy… thank you for the post and the information. Yes ago I donated a computer to a shelter and offered to set it up for them and maintain it as a service. The screening process was extensive and after a time of helping and hearing some of the stories, I was so appalled that some men could actually think the way they do. Good for you for bringing this further into the light with the work you are doing. I commend you for standing firm on helping others…

    Hugs from Alberta

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Thank you so much, Rolly. It’s not easy to write these personal posts and so to be acknowledged for it means a lot to me. In addition, that was very thoughtful of you to set up the computer for the shelter – you likely changed more lives than you realized!

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