HIGHLIGHTING AN INVISIBLE TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY

One in three women will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime. Most will also suffer a traumatic brain injury.

When you consider most physical abuse involves blows to the head, face, neck, and strangulation, it’s not surprising. But while sports concussion dominates news headlines, little attention is paid to how common brain injuries are among survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV).

SOAR (Supporting Survivors of Abuse and Brain Injury through Research) works to change that through a unique, multi-disciplinary research collaboration between University of British Columbia – Okanagan and Kelowna Women’s Shelter.

What is Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)?

The term intimate partner violence (IPV) describes physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former intimate partner or spouse.

IPV is also known as domestic abuse or gender-based violence, and is a major public health concern that destroys lives, devastates families, and affects communities around the world.

One in three women will experience IPV in her lifetime. 

In Canada alone, it’s estimated 230,000 women between 20 and 54 will experience severe violence at the hands of an intimate partner every year.

The federal Department of Justice estimates the annual costs associated with IPV exceed $7.4B.

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?

A Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an alteration in brain function caused by external forces, or a reduction in oxygen supply. A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury caused by a hard blow or jolt to the head, neck, or body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.

In intimate partner violence (IPV), a concussion can happen from a variety of causes, including being:

  • Punched, or hit with an object.
  • Violently shaken.
  • Pushed down stairs.
  • Thrown out of a moving vehicle.
Brain injuries can also happen due to strangulation, which cuts off blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Nearly half of women survivors have been strangled. It’s a common cause of brain injury in IPV, and a strong indicator of future fatality.
Brain Scan

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