A Vancouver musician is sharing his personal story of domestic violence saying he hopes it helps others seek help and end the stigma around the issue.
Hussein Alidina — also known as DJ A-Slam from the band Global Party Starters — said he was inspired to produce a song called Gone after witnessing his mother leave his abusive father as a child.
The song, like much of Alidina's music, is described as electronic dance music with hip hop and South Asian influences.
"This video is my mother's story, and so I wanted her voice to be a part of the #MeToo conversation," said Alidina, 32, referring to the social media campaign in which thousands of people have signalled their experiences with sexual harassment.
"As men, we can step up, be better allies, and question our own beliefs and behaviours around gender and sexuality."
The video — which is being released to coincide with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women — begins by depicting a couple in love but quickly transitions to a violent relationship that ends with the woman leaving her partner.
"I just remember that day that my mom left my dad," said Alidina who was 7 years old at the time.
"I remember them fighting... little things that I tried to remember from that night...I used them for the video [of this song]."
Alidina said one of the issues his mother and many other abuse survivors face is stigma.
"The whole thing like you have to stay together when you get married — divorce is so looked down upon. I didn't realize until much later that a lot of women stay in those relationships [because of that stigma]," said Alidina.
He also said men must play a larger role in the conversation about domestic violence.
"We're still putting the focus on women to go out and get help, but where is the anger at men for putting women in that [position]?"
The video ends with statistics about domestic violence from the Battered Women's Support Services as well as contact information for the Vancouver-based organization.
Touches 'every community'
"One in three women in Canada will experience violence in her lifetime," said Angela Marie MacDougall, executive director of Battered Women's Support Services.
"On average, every five days a woman in Canada is killed by her partner. These stats are horrifying."
MacDougall said musicians like Alidina and campaigns like #Metoo are important in raising awareness of violence against women.
"We have to recognize that every community deals with it. It's not more prevalent in any one culture group or ethnic group," said MacDougall.
Battered Women's Support Services receives roughly 11,000 calls each year. This year it has surpassed that with one month left in 2017.