VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s hard enough to self-isolate during this pandemic, now imagine trying to do so while in an abusive relationship. A survivor and advocate for victims is sharing her advice.
“The first thing to know is that shelters are still open, sexual assault centres are still open, and also, that you can call a shelter even if you’re not looking for housing and just say ‘I’m thinking of leaving this person, I don’t know what to do, I don’t know where to go,'” says Julie Lalonde.
“People are still working, they’re still picking up the phones, volunteers are still there to support you,” she adds. “Because there’s been such a lockdown, people really do assume that everything is on hold right now and that’s not the case.”
LISTEN: Resilience is Futile
She does caution that not all women can find shelter space “especially if you are the mother of boys. Many shelters are not able to accept teenaged boys, for example.”
Lalonde worries the situation for abuse victims during this pandemic will get worse before it gets better. “There’s data from Paris, there’s data from Australia, that’s showing that since lockdowns have been put in place there’s been a dramatic increase in domestic violence and, in some cases, in domestic homicide as well.”
Today on @NEWS1130: I speak with @JulieSLalonde, author of Resilience is Futile, who has advice for women in abusive relationships during #COVID19. "People are still working, they're still picking up the phones, volunteers are still there to support you." #1130bookshelf pic.twitter.com/Jp2pNkcili
— John Ackermann (@jackermann) April 19, 2020
In her recent memoir, Resilience is Futile: The Life and Death and Life of Julie S. Lalonde, she talks about her own history with abuse. “I have a really complicated relationship with the term ‘survivor’ even because it makes it seem like my trauma has somehow made me a better person,” she says.
Lalonde endured years of intimate partner violence and was stalked for years afterward by her former partner as well. She talks about what she has learned as both a victim and an advocate and how she feels resilience isn’t always a virtue. “It doesn’t matter what you do, if someone is determined to harm you and if the system is not there to protect you, then you can have all the strength and courage and tenacity and all of those wonderful things in the world, ultimately, it’s not going to protect you.”
Look for Resilience Is Futile: The Life and Death and Life of Julie S. Lalonde from Between the Lines press.