SFU faculty co-authors book on urgent need to combat, end relationship violence

AMONG the many devastating impacts of the coronavirus pandemic is the marked increase in relationship violence reported globally.

A topical book that addresses this subject and which has been co-authored, edited and reviewed by Simon Fraser University faculty and staff was launched at an online event hosted by SFU last week.

To enable wider accessibility, the book entitled, “Making Sense of a Global Pandemic: Relationship Violence & Working Together Towards a Violence Free Society,” is a free open-source e-book publication, and is the result of a collaboration between 13 individuals with diverse experience and expertise to create a helpful resource that speaks to the different aspects of relationship violence (RV).

The book has been co-authored by SFU’s Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies Professor Jen Marchbank and Department of Gerontology masters student Glaucia Salgado. The other co-authors are Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) faculty member Balbir Gurm — also the e-book project lead and founder of the Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships (NEVR) — and violence prevention advocate Sheila Dawn Early.

“This e-book is the product of a wonderful coalition of academics, practitioners and community activists. It is an excellent example of what can be produced when people, who share a concern, work across silos and organizations,” says Marchbank.

Salgado’s role as co-author focused on collecting, analyzing and showing the results of studies related to RV and their impacts on individuals’ overall health.

“It is essential to understand the ways in which relationship violence is perpetrated and how it impacts the health of people, so we not only understand the costs to public health but mainly, the links between RV and health outcomes.”

A living resource for victims of violence

SFU’s Sobhana Jaya-Madhavan, Associate Vice-President, External Relations, is one of the editors of the book. She says it provides critical answers to questions, such as, what an individual can do to leave a difficult relationship, and subsequently protect themselves.

Jaya-Madhavan also moderated an online panel discussion held last week to mark the book launch, which drew more than 100 participants from across Canada and abroad. “RV is an issue that impacts all of us across cultures and continents. It is a human-rights violation that needs global attention and collective action. Every single one of us has a role to play in making our society violence-free.”

Drawing on personal experiences of RV in Surrey, Delta and Langley, the book cites instances of violence suffered in Indigenous, refugee and immigrant communities, LGBQT2S1A+ relationships, post-secondary institutions and the workplace, across an age and gender spectrum.

“Gender-based violence (GBV) on post-secondary campuses mirrors the experiences of those impacted by GBV in the larger society,” points out CJ Rowe, Director of SFU’s Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office, who is one of the reviewers of the book.

“This book helps demystify the complexities inherent in understanding, responding and preventing relationship violence. A collaborative multi-authored and edited text, it provides a balance between academic research and offers hands-on tools to support service providers in their work.”

In addition to the aforementioned, the panel discussion also included other anti-violence experts and NEVR members involved in the e-book project, namely, A. Alexon, Sonia Andhi Bilkhu, Jim Cessford, Julie Czeck, Daljit Gill-Badesh, Amarjit Sahota and Gary Thandi.