KPU Instructor Helps Write E-Book on Preventing Relationship Violence

The book explores relationship violence as a widespread social and health pandemic

(file photo)

For years, KPU nursing instructor Dr. Balbir Gurm has worked to offer comprehensive resources on relationship violence to the public. Much of this work has been done through the Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships (NEVR), a cross-disciplinary organisation Gurm founded which aims to stop systemic relationship violence by educating people on how we can address and prevent it. NEVR also offers support by connecting people to community resources and services.

On July 22, Gurm and her team released Making Sense of a Global Pandemic: Relationship Violence & Working Together Towards a Violence Free Society. The e-book is a collection of comprehensive resources on relationship violence, which it defines as “any form of physical, emotional, spiritual, or financial abuse, negative social control, or coercion that is suffered by anyone who has a bond or relationship with the offender.”

Gurm describes it as a “living book” because it will be updated to include up-to-date information and perspectives.

New research shows that reported instances of domestic violence and increased social isolation have risen due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think it’s wonderful how we are handling COVID-19 as a pandemic on an international stage, but we need to do the same with relationship violence,” Gurm says. “It cuts across age, socio-economic status. It does not matter what gender you are …. It impacts literally all human beings and in that sense, it is a pandemic.”

The free e-book is divided into stand-alone chapters that are written to be accessible for all readers, whether it be for academic, professional, or personal purposes.

Analyzing the statistics, addressing obstacles for survivors, and recommending steps on how to create healthy, violence-free relationships are some of the topics explored in the book.

It also examines relationship violence in Indigenous communities, LGBQT2SIA+ communities, immigrant and refugee communities, workplaces, and post-secondary institutions.

“We wanted people around the world to recognize that this is a real issue, and in some countries, sexual abuse between partners is still legal,” says Gurm. “For many years, it was thought of as an issue in the bedroom and not a public issue, but health is a public issue and a basic human right.”

The book includes local contributors who draw from a wide range of experiences and professions. However, they are all working on bringing awareness to the systemic problem of relationship violence.

“We think everybody has a good perspective. It doesn’t matter if you are a student or service provider or academic,” Gurm says.

While she is proud to have published these resources, Gurm says she will not be satisfied until change starts to happen.

“When I see that people are actually using it, changing policy, helping individuals get to resources, that the services are coordinated and able to help, and we see that this issue is being dealt with, I think that’s when I will really feel like, ‘Yes, we did it,’” she says.

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