What we wish we had known

Tania King and Anna Arrowsmith of Safer Mid Canterbury.
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There are plenty of times in life we wish we had known something sooner.

But asilver lining of hindsight is the opportunity to teach others, so that they don’t have to learn the way we did.

Safe Families Ashburton are hosting an event to bring awareness of what to look for in unhealthy relationships, presented by awoman who wished she had seen the signs earlier.

The event – Hindsight – combines wholesome conversation, food stalls, and beauty demonstrations with the revelations and afterthoughts of domestic abuse survivor and guest speaker, Hazel.

‘‘Looking back now I can see all the red flags were there, but I didn’teven know about the red flags at that stage,’’ Hazel said.

‘‘I first got beaten not long after our first child was born and from there it progressively got worse.

‘‘I was married for over 47 years and spent most of my time trying to fix it.’’

Hazel, who will share her story at the Hindsight event, said she wished she had known how to see the signs or how to get out earlier.

Anna Arrowsmith, safe families coordinator with Safer Mid Canterbury, said, ‘‘I was really passionate about trying to get that message out there. You know, this is what a healthy relationship and unhealthy relationship looks like.

‘‘These are the red flags, these are the warning signs, and this is actually not OK, and educating people around that stuff,’’ she said.

‘‘When we look at intimate partner relationships that are domestically harmful, it doesn’t start off that way. No relationship does.

‘‘It’s an escalation over time of ignoring red flags or shifting your line or your tolerance that ends up with these unhealthy relationships.’’

Anna, who is also a private practice counsellor, said she has seen increasing levels of domestic control and manipulation that she believes stems from too much easily accessible information, such as Snapchat locations and Instagram likes.

‘‘There definitely needs to be some work done there because a lot of things are happening that aren’t OK and that are very heavily socially or technologically influenced,’’ she said.

Though this event won’t be targeting social media manipulation, it will still address a variety of pressing concerns that remain everpresent in New Zealand communities.

Anna encourages women of all ages to come along to the event, which she says will be a fun and social evening with plenty of opportunity to connect with other women.

‘‘The talk is appropriate for aged 12 years old and above … to come along and to listen this message and to then store and have this information, to take something from it that they can hold when they enter into relationships,’’ she said.

Hazel said she will share knowledge on how to leave a relationship safely, and things you can do to protect yourself during this time.

There will also be a support crew available to anyone who wants to talk at any stage during the event.

‘‘We’ve got over 100 people registered already,’’ said Anna, who was amazed at the response.

She estimates around 50 tickets are left for the event, which is free, but registrations are essential.

Hindsight is an evening for women, held by women.

Safer Mid Canterbury is aware that family abuse can be afflicted towards men, but are trying to address the most pressing concern.

One in four women will experience some form of family abuse, be it physical, sexual, or emotional: 95% of assault cases in New Zealand involve a male perpetrator and a female victim, and each year roughly 20 women in New Zealand are killed due to family violence.

‘‘We do acknowledge it happens to men, but that’s not the cause we’re tackling at the moment,’’ Anna said.

‘‘We still have to be fighting the majority as this stage.’’

Hindsight will be held on the evening of October 27 at the Sinclair Centre on Park Street in Ashburton.

Tickets are free and doors open at 6.30pm.

Tickets can be reserved by texting Anna on 0277223204 [email protected]