One crisis help line at Anova received quadruple the amount of calls and a January caseload almost doubled from what it saw last year in the same month.
Amiel Houghton is the Residential Manager of Programs and Services at Anova. “A year ago, we were receiving around 900 calls in 3 months. Now, we’re seeing over 1000-1100 calls a month. So that’s a significant increase.”
Many are beginning to attribute the flood in reports to the viral social media #MeToo Movement.
Houghton says the #MeToo Movement is shining a light when it comes to recognizing violence and abuse.
“I think it’s given people voice. Now, people are able to recognize that what they have been experiencing for so long is actually violence and abuse. I think the #MeToo Movement has stopped it in its tracks and said, ‘wait a minute, what I’m experiencing is not normal’, and now it is a bit easier to tell someone.”
Jenn Vale works for the Canadian Mental Health Association and is a team lead for a housing-first program in London.
“The #MeToo Movement might also empower women to recognize that if they come forward about this violence, another woman might hear about it and come forward too.”
This conversation is circulating globally each day, but Vale believes it needs to circulate more throughout one demographic in particular.
“If men are not talking about this with each other, we’re in big trouble. Men are still the dominant person in the world. I often hear men asking why there are often multiple women accusing the same man, not understanding that when a woman comes forward, several other women realized they were not alone.”
Houghton says the movement is definitely creating significant impact, but the conversation cannot stop at the hashtag.
“I think it’s really good to have awareness, but after that there needs to be an ownership of policies and practice guidelines. And a lot of places assume that they’re doing it but they’re not changing how they do things to better support the community that’s in need.”
There is a global shift happening as women continue to come forward and validate their experiences, and London is no stranger to it.
For more information on Anova’s services, visit www.shelterlondon.org