Somebody Must Say These Things

Revised Podcast Tile

'Somebody Must Say These Things' explores Violence Against Women in Nova Scotia.

This podcast features survivors and the women who make it their mission to end the issue for good. This podcast sheds light on our society’s continued poor acknowledgement of Violence Against Women.
It follows the stories of survivors and examines the role of transition houses. It also features the transition house workers who fight everyday to help women and children in need.
Together, their insights offer a new, clear perspective on the current status of abuse and violence in the province of Nova Scotia and what we need to do to ensure a brighter tomorrow.

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Season 2 Episode Descriptions

1. Silent Depression

In this episode, we look into these changes and the increasing demand for support services during post-pandemic economic hardship. "The Silent Depression" is a term used to describe the observed increase of people seeking help for basic needs like food and shelter post COVID-19. The effects of this depression has exasperated the existing shortage of resources aimed to support survivors of gender-based violence. This episode highlights the urgent need for funding, particularly for clients experiencing poverty, unemployment, marginalization, unsafe living situations and lack of support.

2. Housing

This episode's focus is on the housing crisis, specifically its impact on survivors of intimate partner violence. The housing crisis in Nova Scotia was particularly exacerbated by COVID-19, especially in rural areas where the challenges of finding affordable housing are even more dire due to the lack of public tent communities, and the prevalence of derelict buildings, and un-winterized structures. The limited availability of housing and exorbitant costs in places like Cape Breton, are discussed as major barriers for gender-based violence survivors trying to escape abusive partners. We hear from support experts that for a wide range of women, of varying financial abilities, the recent housing crisis has made it harder than ever to leave a dual income household. Experts and survivors are featured in this episode arriving at the same conclusion; we need affordable housing.

3. Safety

Host, and Director of the Chrysalis Transition House Association, Ginger MacPhee is back in this episode; delving into the complex issue of safety, as it relates to the stark realities of gender-based violence survivors. We hear from survivors and experts who provide insight into the various forms of abuse, and the lasting impact it has on mental and emotional well-being. The fear of post-separation violence looms large, with half of all ex-partner homicides occurring within two months of leaving the relationship. Despite efforts to provide safety, challenges persist, particularly in rural areas where resources are limited. In this episode we highlight the vulnerabilities faced by shelters, underscoring the need for adequate funding and support. However, amidst the adversity, there is hope.

4. Health

There is a critical intersection of healthcare and intimate partner violence, and in this episode we explore the challenges faced by victims seeking care. Through firsthand accounts and expert insights, we take a look at the gaps in healthcare training, and resources for addressing gender-based violence, emphasizing the need for better education and structure within the system. Testimonials from survivors highlight the transformative impact of shelters like Chrysalis House, offering vital healing and support often missing in traditional healthcare settings.

5. Justice

In this week's episode, we hear the story of Mary, a survivor of intimate partner violence, who courageously shares her journey of escaping abuse and navigating the justice system. Like many gender-based violence survivors, in rural areas of Nova Scotia, trapped in isolation, Mary's quest for safety led her to confront the grim reality of a system ill-equipped to protect victims of gender-based violence, revealing profound gaps and trauma-inducing experiences. The many stories in our province, like Mary's, underscores the urgent need for justice, systemic change, and increased support for survivors.

6. Technology

We are often inundated with the lists of uses for technology in society. From how it can make our lives easier, to more comfortable, and even luxurious. In the same vein, technology can create community around the personal hardships that women endure as gender-based violence survivors. The opposite should also be considered. This episode explores how social media surveillance, perpetuates intimate partner violence even post escape. Guest experts including Dr Suzie Dunn, Professor Kaitlynn Mendes, and Rhiannon Wong, discuss the pros and cons of the effects that evolving technology and social media platforms have on gender-based violence survivors.

While highlighting examples of survivors leaving abusive relationships online, can advocate for informed decision-making for the survivor community; the allure of online platforms in promoting harmful ideologies, blurring lines between healthy and toxic relationships for young men is of concern.  Additionally, the complexities of leaving abusive relationships in a digital age must be considered when understanding the range of experience and resources that are needed to provide support.

7. Next Generation

In this episode of Somebody Must Say These Things, we explore the importance of building a future free of violence against women, focusing on proactive measures to educate and empower our children, the next generation. Expert guests like Rhonda Fraser, Safety Outcome Advisor at the Nova Scotia Highest Risk Domestic Violence Table, Professor Suzie Dunn, and Dr. Katie Mendez, highlight the role of technology in perpetuating gender-based violence and the challenges parents face in monitoring online content. Toxic online influencers are identified as exacerbating harmful ideologies, particularly among young males. Initiatives like the Roots of Empathy Program and Domestic Violence Leave policies are praised for fostering empathy and awareness.

The importance of establishing trusting relationships with children and engaging in open dialogue about online safety is emphasized. As a society, we must continue to recognize the transformative impact of support systems on children affected by domestic violence, highlighting the collective responsibility to ensure safety and opportunity for all.

Season 1 Episode Descriptions

Chapter 1: Abuse

Violence Against Women is a complex issue that is difficult to understand if you have not lived it. But it is all of our responsibility to learn so we can recognize the signs and help the women around us who may not be able to advocate for themselves. In this first episode, we break down what exactly Violence Against Women means, what causes it, and the systemic issues we face in trying to end it.

Chapter 2: Escape

Leaving an abusive partner is not as straightforward a decision as it may appear. The manipulation of victims and the threats made toward them make leaving the most dangerous time for women and children in abusive situations. In this episode, we spoke with transition house employees to understand what goes into leaving for a shelter safely and what women can expect upon arrival.

Chapter 3: Children

While many victims of abuse feel isolated alone, oftentimes they do not leave their abusers alone. Many women who escape to transition house bring with them the most important people in their lives: their children. In this episode, we spoke with Ginger and her daughter Jordan, who fled to a transition house together when Jordan was a baby. They recount their experiences and how they rebuilt a new life.

Chapter 4: Rural

Violence Against Women is different across the province. In this episode, we wanted to highlight the specific challenges transition houses face when operating in rural communities - from the logistical to the societal. In a largely rural province, what does best practice look like?

Chapter 5: Missing

Violence can happen to any woman. However, some demographics are targeted more than others. This episode is dedicated to understanding just one of those demographics - indigenous women. After centuries of colonization and assimilation, indigenous women in Nova Scotia fight to overcome the systematic oppression and generational trauma that has been put upon them. The Mi’kmaw Healing Centres, managed by Bev Walker, specialize in helping these women and their communities in a culturally informed way.

Chapter 6: Successes

“Success” is difficult to define for abuse survivors. It looks different for everyone. In this episode, we spoke with workers of transition houses to understand the different forms success takes and how shelters help women work toward these goals.

Chapter 7: Stakes

In 1978, the first transition house opened in Nova Scotia. In 1989, the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia was incorporated. While this organization has done so much for women and children in this province, the instability of funding means they are always in jeopardy. In this episode, we spoke with survivors of abuse, Brenda, Flo, and Ginger, who can remember a time before transition houses were widely accessible - and just what is at stake if we lose them.

Chapter 8: Future

In this final episode of Somebody Must Say These Things, we can see the tremendous role the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia plays to ensure a safer society for women and children. However, they need our help to secure stable funding. With less time devoted to lobbying for funding, THANS can dedicate themselves to assisting Nova Scotian women and children and building a brighter future for all. Because no one deserves to live with abuse.