Video installation captures 'fear and sense of threat' faced by domestic abuse victims

Battered Women's Support Services set up a jarring installation at a bus shelter in North Vancouver to help people understand what it can be like for women experiencing domestic abuse.

Bus shelter in North Vancouver featured video of scene experienced by many victims, advocate says

A video installation by Battered Women's Support Services installed at a North Vancouver bus stop lets viewers observe a scene that advocates say is too common: an abusive partner trying to get into the home. The video installation mimicked a door and the scene was viewable through a peephole. (Battered Women's Support Services)

Battered Women's Support Services set up a jarring installation at a bus shelter in North Vancouver to help people understand what it can be like for women experiencing domestic abuse.

At the bus shelter at Lonsdale Ave and 27th Street, a white door with a peephole was installed where a billboard usually would be.

A person with a guitar bag leans in to watch the video through the peephole. (CBC)

When a passer-by looks through the peephole, a video plays showing an abusive male partner banging on the door and yelling, threateningly, to be let in.

At the end of the video, it gives the campaign's message: "You can walk away. Some women can't."

"What we're doing today is giving an opportunity for people in this neighbourhood to have a first-hand experience of what women in abusive relationships go through," said Angela Marie MacDougall, executive director of Battered Women's Support Services.

"It's a way to have that visceral experience and recognition that for many women, they're unable to walk away."

Angela Marie MacDougall is the executive director of Battered Women's Support Services. (CBC)

The installation was only in place for a few hours Friday afternoon. MacDougall said the organization's goal was to reach a diverse sampling of the public and show them the "fear and sense of threat" faced by domestic abuse victims.

Passers-by who stopped to look through the peephole described it as a frightening, unsettling experience.

MacDougall said she hopes those feelings will keep awareness of domestic abuse front and centre — along with the need for services and housing to support women leaving abusive relationships

Listen to an audio mix with Angela Marie MacDougall:

Battered Women's Support Services set up a jarring installation at a bus shelter in North Vancouver to help people understand what it can be like for women experiencing domestic abuse. 6:39

With files from Rachel Sanders and CBC Radio One's On The Coast

Where to get help:

Rape Crisis Centre 24-hour crisis line: 604-255-6344 or toll free 1-877-392-7583

Battered Women's Support Services: 604-687-1867

VictimLink B.C.: 1-800-563-0808

Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868; Live Chat counselling at kidshelpphone.ca

Read more from CBC British Columbia