A new podcast series tells the stories of Nova Scotia women affected by domestic violence, in hopes of encouraging other victims to speak out and find support.
Ginger McPhee, the executive director of Chrysalis House in Kentville, N.S., said the topic of violence against women is uncomfortable.
“A lot of people do not want to hear about stories of violence against women and children,” McPhee told CBC Radio’s Information Morning on Tuesday.
“It also makes us, I think a lot of times, feel helpless if we hear that something’s happening and we don’t know what to do about it. It’s easier to not talk about it.”
That’s exactly what the eight-part podcast series, Somebody Must Say These Things, is trying to tackle.
Produced by the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia, each episode explores a particular subject related to violence against women, like leaving an abusive partner, escaping with children or finding support in rural Nova Scotia.
“Having [first-person] voice stories within these conversations allows people to connect to the fact that we are talking about humans,” McPhee said.
“We are having people within our communities around us impacted by violence and [it explains] how we can all play a role to help.”
McPhee is one of those voices. She said she was in a “dangerous” relationship when she was a teenager and when she sought medical attention and help from police, she wasn’t given any resources.
She didn’t even know what a transition house was.
“Nobody talked about what was happening to me…. I just felt like I had to deal with it myself,” she said.
She eventually left that relationship, but later became involved in another abusive relationship. She had a young daughter at the time.
She feared for her daughter’s safety, so she knew she couldn’t stay. That’s when she found Chrysalis House in Kentville, where she now works.
“The reason that I am in [this] role is because being at the transition house has changed my life and now I have the opportunity to help other women,” she said.
McPhee said she has become more open about her experiences while working at the transition house, especially after a woman staying there asked about her past.
“She said, ‘It’s just so powerful for me to hear that you changed your life that dramatically and that there is hope for me to change my life and so I hope that you talk about that,'” said McPhee.
“That was really significant to me because I did talk about it, but not a lot and I realized how much hope we can give others by sharing our stories and by showing them that there is a different life that you can have.”
That’s where the idea for the podcast came from. She wanted to help others and let them know they’re not alone, while also encouraging others to support survivors.
“Understanding that this is a very complex issue and being open to talk about it is one step that anybody can do,” McPhee said.
“So being open to listening and learning and having conversations that may be about difficult things, I think is something very important.”
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