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Ep. 27 with Jo-Anne Dusel from PATHS

By July 24, 2019July 26th, 2023No Comments

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Episode #125 with Kay Peacy from Slick Business

Episode #124 with Marc Toews from Gateway Web AR

Episode #123 with Sherry Pratt from Sherry Pratt Health Coaching

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Episode #29 with Margaret Kisikaw-Piyesis, from All Nations Hope Network & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 28 with Dr. Renatta Varma, Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 27 with Jo-Anne Dusel from PATHS & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 26 with Dr. Emily Bamforth from Royal Saskatchewan Museum & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 25 with Nigora Yulyakshieva from City of Regina & YWCA Woman of Distinction

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Welcome to Women in Leadership on the Secret Life of Entrepreneurs! Today’s guest, Jo-Anne Dusel, Executive Director of PATHS brought me to tears when she revealed the incidence of intimate abuse in our province.

We can do better. We must do better.

Jo-Anne is also the winner of the 2019 Award for Social Justice with the YWCA of Regina Women of Distinction.

Please tune in and share her passion.

If you, or someone you know, needs support for intimate partner violence, please contact


Barb McGrath 0:00
Welcome to another special episode of The Secret Life of entrepreneurs. A 91.3 FM CJ tr Regina community radio. You’re listening to your host, Barb McGrath, local business owner, marketing guru and founder of the get found on Google program. This week, I’m talking to a leader in our business community, who’s making a positive impact in her workplace. And for way more stakeholders than I ever realized before talking with her. Joanne is a part of our women in leadership series, and she’s going to talk a little bit about her role in the community. She’s also going to talk about her secret, what keeps her going, she’s in a tough job, what makes her What makes her get out of bed in the morning and not not, not hesitate to hop in the car and drive for Moose Jaw. So we’re gonna talk a little bit about her role. So let’s get started then. Our guest today is Jo-Anne Dusel. From PATHS, an organization here in our province, and she’s also an award winner with the YWCA of Regina, women of distinction. So we’re going to talk a little bit about both of those today. Welcome, Jo-Anne, tell us a little bit about yourself. Thank you, Barb.

Jo-Anne Dusel 1:09
Well, I am a proud mother of two and grandmother of two. As you mentioned, I do live in Moose Jaw, I work in Regina at pavs. The work that I do now is all around trying to reduce the incidence and impact of intimate partner violence and other violence against women and girls. The way I got into this work was through really a lifelong interest in social justice. I do believe that people have the ability to make change in societies. And there’s the the famous famous Margaret Mead quote, that the only thing that ever has changed society is motivated individuals. That’s not the quote, but that’s the intent of the quote. Yeah. And I’ve always believed that. for 20 years in Moose Jaw, I was a frontline worker at the women’s shelter transition house. I worked with literally thousands of women and their children who were fleeing violence situations. And in now in almost five years, I’ve been the executive director at PATHS. Okay, we are a provincial Association, we have 21 member agencies located all over the province. And all of our members are either residential, domestic violence shelters, second stage shelters, or Hey, our counseling agencies that do work with families, individuals who have experienced violence within those relationships, right.

Barb McGrath 2:38
Yeah, within the home. So join you and and i, you and i had a chance to talk earlier. And you shared some stats with me. So let’s start off with the hard stuff. share those stats with us, please.

Jo-Anne Dusel 2:50
Okay, well, in Canada, every five days, a woman is killed by her current or former intimate partner. in Saskatchewan we have a much smaller population. So that number actually works out on average to about every three months, a woman is killed here in Saskatchewan by current or former intimate partner. However, in Saskatchewan, our rates of intimate partner violence are over double the national average. In fact, we are highest among the Canadian provinces. And a recent study by statscan was just released that showed that rates of violence against women are actually higher in northern Saskatchewan, and they are in the territories, which was actually surprising to me. It is after our last conversation, you had mentioned that you are surprised at the high rates of violence that are experienced. Another example is within one year, I believe it’s 2017. There were over 6000, police reported incidents of intimate partner violence. And we do know that this is a crime that’s very underreported. Some of the stats range, they range from anywhere from 10% being reported to 25%. What I can tell you from my years as a shelter worker, if you’re thinking about women who are in such dire straits, that they’re willing to leave behind their homes, their communities, their support systems, often everything but the clothes on their back and what they’re able to bring in a couple bags, they carry with them, right those women, according to the information we obtained from them, only about 10% of them had actually involved the police in their situations. So we know that this is something that is very underreported, and yet to put that in another another way for perspective, domestic violence calls her domestic conflict, as it’s sometimes called by police is approximately one quarter of all police calls.

Barb McGrath 4:48
Oh, wow. Yeah, only 10% are being reported. Just do the math on that.

Jo-Anne Dusel 4:52
Yes, holy. So it’s a very pervasive problem. It’s one that’s historically been considered a private matter. It’s very considered something you don’t talk about in public, there’s a lot of stigma for victims. And oftentimes, those questions are asked, Will asked, Well, why didn’t she just leave? or What did she do to deserve that? So a lot of pressure is put on the victim and very little questioning is ever done of the person using violence. Why do they abuse? Why do they use violence? Right, and that’s something that we’re very much trying to turn around, including looking at some of the motivations for perpetration of violence. Is it that that was the pattern that they witnessed growing up? You know, do they not know how to use healthy communication skills? Have they never had a model of a healthy relationship? are they responding to trauma in their own lives, which has never been dealt with. So it’s a complex issue. And there’s many different ways to come at it. One of the ways to look to intervene is through legislation and analysis. We’ve been working for about four years now on the issue of how experiencing intimate partner violence impacts workers, and how that impacts the workplace as a whole, including coworkers, including the bottom line for employers. And we’re really pleased that since we began this work, there’s been a real increase in awareness of the issue. And in fact, legislation. Here in Saskatchewan, it started off as 10 days unpaid leave for survivors, which is now five days unpaid, but five days paid leave. So that Okay, yeah, individuals who have experienced this sort of violence can take time off to go to court to see a lawyer to see counseling, or medical appointments or move right and not lose income, which is so important.

Barb McGrath 6:46
That situation Exactly. So talk a little bit about in the workplace. You paint that picture for me, if I was an employer, how would you help me help me understand, you know, what the impact in my workplace might be? If I’ve got somebody who’s either a, an abuser or be being abused?

Jo-Anne Dusel 7:06
Well, one of the things that does impact employers and I’m, I, I’m going to say that the number is, I hate this word. I don’t I should have looked up this number this morning. But it’s literally billions of dollars that employers lose annually. And the costs are for things like last time, extra sick time, employees being distracted. And if sometimes employees actually lose their jobs because of this, or quit, because they feel are not able to do their best, right. And in that case, employers have the costs of rehiring of recruitment and retraining staff. And an important thing to note is it’s not just those who are the victims of violence that are having these costs on employers. A study out of South America actually showed that individuals who are using violence, so the aggressor in an intimate partner situation is actually causing more costing more, because they’re the ones who are obsessive. They are the ones who are constantly calling, texting, emailing, driving to check up on their partner, and potentially causing accidents in the workplace due to their distraction. Yeah, so what an employer might see as someone who typically been, you know, on time, very engaged, really doing their work, maybe they’re, you know, someone who’s right, quite friendly. Now, going now, what might be happening is they’re taking a lot of sick time, they’re showing up late, or conversely, they’re showing up too early, or they don’t want to leave, which could show that you don’t want to go home, you don’t want to go home or if you’re recently separated. Your ex partner, maybe no longer knows where you live, but they certainly know where you work. And they may know what your work schedule is.

Jo-Anne Dusel 8:52
So there, there’s issues around that. You may see someone who’s coming in and their personality appears to have changed, they’re withdrawn, where they used to be outgoing. They may actually make comments about problems at home, and you may see work disruption, that they’re not actually focusing the way that they should. Okay, now, all of those signs are not something that they’re choosing to do. It’s not part of their personality, their ability to actually do the work. It’s directly because of another person’s behavior. Oh, absolutely. And I mean, you know, talk about distracting as soon as you’ve had an argument with a spouse or had an argument with one of your kids. I mean, absolutely, yeah. So So, Pallas actually did a survey of Saskatchewan workers to see what the impact actually was, what sorts of things were happening. And we heard things like abusive partners were doing things like keeping them up late at night arguing so they would be tired in the morning in the morning, refusing to take care of the kids so that they would be late or they would have to scramble for childcare, hiding their key so they couldn’t leave to be on time, actually parking their vehicle behind the victim’s vehicle in the driveway. So They couldn’t get out and get out. And all of these things are in an effort to disrupt employment employment is a protective factor and more than adequately,

Barb McGrath 10:07
Mm, yeah. It provides you some financial means and

Jo-Anne Dusel 10:11
Yes, and a support system as well. There’s somebody who might notice what’s going on and ask you about it. There, there could be supports within the workplace, employee assistance programs or other, you know, colleagues who actually could offer support or say, That’s not okay. You need to do something you need to get out. And so that’s all things that a controlling, abusive partner does not want the victim to have access to. Mm hmm.

Barb McGrath 10:39
Yep. And I think in our earlier conversation, I asked you this as well, but your organization supports women and children who are impacted, not necessarily men who are impacted because it does go both ways. It’s just that’s not who your organization is targeted towards. If a man was being abused, where would you recommend that he would go then?

Jo-Anne Dusel 11:01
Well, as I mentioned, the last time we spoke, we don’t none of our members will actually offer residential service. We don’t have that capability currently. In any of the shelters However, if a man is being abused, he can feel free to call any one of our 21 member agencies know can talk just you know to sometimes you just need to have someone listen and believe you Yeah, you know about what’s going on. And and certainly we can do counseling off site, we can do referrals as much as we would for women who were staying in shelter or any of the the counseling services like family service, Regina Family Service, Saskatoon, some of the other ones, in different communities across the province, would probably provide the same service to a male who is experiencing intimate partner violence as they went to a female.

Barb McGrath 11:49
Okay. Okay, that makes a little bit more sense to me. So you do have resonance capabilities at some of your member organizations. So if if a woman grabs her stuff, and the kids and she goes one night, because she’s finally got an opportunity to get out, she can knock on the door and make a phone call and and find one of your partners in the community then?

Jo-Anne Dusel 12:08
Absolutely. So really, some really quick ways where people can find that out every SAS telphone book, in the first couple pages has the abuse helplines pages, okay, and they will show local resources, they can also go to pads website, or to sketch 1211, which has a whole separate kind of set of pages, all about supports for people who are experiencing abuse, right? If people are looking for supports across Canada, they could always check out

Barb McGrath 12:37

Jo-Anne Dusel 12:40
Mm hmm. And I’ve heard actually, that the helpline 811 now offers safety planning. So that could be another place to call, if you’re just, you know, you’re experiencing something you’re not sure it’s abuse, you can certainly call any of our members, the shelters themselves, pretty much all have 24, seven crisis lines, it’s always confidential, most of them either have one 800 numbers, or they accept collect calls, okay, don’t have to give your name, you can just call and talk. Really important to note you don’t have to be bruised to be abused. A lot of the abuse is actually more psychological. And and people who have experienced both find the psychological abuse much harder to deal with much takes much longer to heal from

Barb McGrath 13:24
Yes, the examples that you just talked about earlier, those are all examples of psychological or mental abuse, psychological abuse, I guess, is the right word. And I would always I always think of as mental abuse when I see things in somebody’s trying to control or, you know, like, those just aren’t healthy behaviors. There is a saying, and I forget exactly how it goes. But it talks about, if you’ve been hurt, then you’re going to hurt someone else. And whatever it is about our human nature, we tend to, you know, want to pay it forward, both the good and the bad. And that’s unfortunate. So we have to heal ourselves in order, you know, to to grow healthy people, so to speak, salute, right. Absolutely. And that’s certainly something that I find myself thinking a lot about, you know, raising my kids and seeing how they interact and seeing, you know, what happens in their world and, you know, as a family, absolutely, we get in arguments, would I ever considered abuse? Absolutely not, right? But you could see if something like that happened all of the time or on an ongoing basis or to control then it’s a really different thing.

Jo-Anne Dusel 14:33
Right, the key factor is the power balance or imbalance. So if it’s one person you know, it’s one thing if both people are part of an argument, it’s a discussion. In some families, it gets loud I have some Hungarian as Hungarian blooded me No, and it tends, it can get loud. But the difference is when it’s one person and their actions are geared to control the other person, that’s when you have a problem.

Barb McGrath 15:00
Okay, that’s that’s actually a really good differentiator if we do have anyone listening to the show today, who’s thinking, Okay, how do I differentiate is this still healthy? Lots of times, our spidey senses tell us that something’s off. But we can’t quite put our finger on it yet. And we’re not prepared to pick up the phone and call 911 and say, my husband parked behind me and I can’t get out. Right? I mean, that’s not gonna, that’s not gonna say a car out very quickly.

Jo-Anne Dusel 15:28
So something that we’re very interested in at pounds now is that in the United Kingdom, they have passed legislation to criminalize coercive control, which is what we’re talking about, is the parking the car, you know, someone parked their car behind your vehicle, once it could be an accident, right? If this is happening repeatedly, or that’s in combination with, you get 20 texts a day, asking where you are, and they don’t want you to hang out with certain friends. And they feel that your family is bad for you. So you shouldn’t be seeing your family. And they want to control the bank account, you don’t have any idea what’s in there. Now there’s a pattern. And actually now in the UK, in the countries there have kind of adopted this legislation, sort of one by one, okay. But several of them have now adopted it. And you can actually, if you can prove that this is a pattern of behavior, that is actually a crime. The reason this is important is sometimes that sort of behavior is a greater predictor of potential intimate partner homicide, then actually two couples that argue a lot, or even couples where there’s like, been scuffles, where there’s some physical violence, it’s actually the relationships where this type of intense coercive control is taking place, or more likely to end in homicide.

Barb McGrath 16:48
Ah, okay. Yes, yeah. And that makes Yes, that makes sense to me. Now. The whole, the whole subject matter still just dumbfound me and I guess maybe I’ve coexisted in my bubble. For too long. I grew up in a very traditional family, I’m raising a very traditional family, I had no idea what was out there. And that’s why I find the numbers shocking to think that 10% is reported. And yet it makes up 25% of our police calls. Wow. Like that. It just says so much about society and where we’re at and and what we need to do as a society. So let’s start to talk about it from a solutions perspective. Obviously, your organization is focused on what are the solutions? And you you reference the research that you’ve done? So what are you seeing some of the solutions to me, what can we do about this?

Jo-Anne Dusel 17:40
Well, we need to break the cycle. So there is an intergenerational cycle of this type of abuse you mentioned, it’s not something you witnessed growing up, it doesn’t seem real to you. There’s other families where this is the norm, this is the norm. And when you’ve grown up like that, that’s going to be how you are in your adult relationship, you may act out violently, and you may experience the violence and not think anything of it, you may not even consider it abuse. That is one of the things that also came out in our survey. Early on, we asked a question, have you ever experienced intimate partner violence and that a certain number say yes, no. Right? Then we had comments. And people were saying, well, not in this relationship, or it was with it was only the emotional wasn’t verbal. And what what it ended up showing was that over half of the people who responded to the survey had experienced intimate partner violence, although less said that they had further in, in our survey, we asked we had a whole list of abusive behaviors, far more answered, ticked off certain abuses and behaviors in there than even the over 50% that actually said they did experience it. So what we know from that is people are experiencing and using abusive behaviors and not realizing that that’s what that what’s what it is, right.

Barb McGrath 18:57
Yeah, exactly. So how do we become more aware? How do we how do we raise children who understand that a controlling behavior or a often intimidating behavior could lead to something more and in fact, could get them in a lot of trouble?

Jo-Anne Dusel 19:22
How do we start to educate people, we have to start young. So whenever we have the opportunity to speak with government, policymakers, people who are in a in the positions to make change happen, we say our number one request, the thing we would most like to see happen is education. Starting in the schools, right core curriculum, not something there are programs out there and our member agencies provide some of them in the schools but it’s hit and miss. It’s at certain ages. What we believe needs to happen is starting in kindergarten, age appropriate education throughout The school system that actually talks about respect that is the basis of it and respect and healthy communication and behaviors in relationship. What’s okay? What’s not okay, right. And I truly believe that this can make a difference. If If you think back to the way societal attitudes have changed about something as simple as littering, growing up in the 70s, drive in your car, down the street, have a chocolate bar, open the window, shop out, throw out the wrapper, nobody thought a thing about it, right. But then there was a big education, public awareness program, and it was the kids. I remember, I was a kid at that time. And I would say to my parents, that’s littering. Yep, you cannot do that. And nowadays, nobody would even think of doing that are very few.

Barb McGrath 20:44
Oh, if you got caught too, you’d be humiliated.

Jo-Anne Dusel 20:48
Yes, yes. So society can change. And so public awareness campaigns, and starting with the kids, I think is the best hope we have a really changing not only the rates here in Saskatchewan, but worldwide.

Barb McGrath 21:02
You know, you think about those kindergarten years. And of course, they’re learning their numbers and their words and their letters and the colors, and you start to wonder, are we teaching them the wrong things at the wrong time? Should we be opening them up in kindergarten to, you know, respect, this is okay, and this is not touching, right? By the time some of these kids are in kindergarten, they’ve already experienced something that wasn’t okay. And what to do about it, who is safe to talk to what’s Okay, what’s not, okay, obviously, Mum and Dad are gonna hug you, hopefully, obviously, they’re gonna hug you and cuddle you and you know, whatever. But But there’s still a fine line. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a parent, or relative, or a stranger on the street. They’re still aligned there in terms of, you know, touching with a kid. And if that’s a passion issue for me, because we have a child who everybody loves to touch, and I’m like, they’re not a puppy in the window, quit petting Mike drives me nuts. Anyway, we won’t get up on that rabbit hole today. I mean, but it almost makes you wonder, should we be looking at some of those broader, bigger issues and starting earlier? You know what, they’re gonna figure out their colors? Maybe it’s not in kindergarten. So maybe it happens to be in grade one instead? I’m, I’m not an educator, but to me, it kind of seems like it probably wouldn’t slow the learning process down.

Jo-Anne Dusel 22:27
I think there’s room for both right? Yeah.

Barb McGrath 22:29
Yeah. And it’s, they’re hard conversations to have with you know, squirmy, little foreign five year old. So I can see why as you say, it’s hit and miss and some teachers are gonna, you know, have the conversation more passionately. And, you know, I suppose for some, then they get a phone call from the parents and tried to talk her into it. He told me that that wasn’t okay. And so I can see it from their perspective, too.

There’s education for the parents as well. But there would need to be,

Jo-Anne Dusel 22:57
You know, I think I think, again, it’s it’s about everybody understanding what’s appropriate, and what’s healthy and what’s safe for the kids and safety. Really trumps everything else.

Barb McGrath 23:10
Yes, I agree wholeheartedly. All right. So you’re a busy lady, if I recall correctly, you have a dog, you commute into town for work? So tell me like, what does a typical day or a typical week look like for you? What sort of projects do you work on? And what does keep you going? Because you’ve got a million pieces on the go?

Jo-Anne Dusel 23:31
Yes, well, our organization is largely funded through project based grants. So part of me is always looking forward. What is the next, you know, project to do? How do we marry the work that we want to do with the grants that are available out there, because that’s always a challenge. We do have a number of things on the go beyond our core mandate, which is supporting our member agencies. Currently, we are. We have a really interesting project that we’re now in the third year of a four year project working with Indigenous women who have experienced intimate partner family violence, okay, and it’s reconnecting them with traditional hands on activities, including things like beading and making ribbon skirts and making using traditional Herbes to make things like teas and lotions. I’ve had the interesting experiences of buying a couple of smoked moose, moose hides, or this project and, and seeing them making lotion made out of bear grease. So some really traditional things and seeing the impact that connecting these women with their heritage, many of whom growing up in urban areas, or some of whom, who were part of the 60 scoop had never had access to this and really seeing how it improved their their emotions. stability and their sense of self esteem. It’s been really amazing. So that’s one of the projects we’re working on. We actually are just beginning a project that’s funded by the law foundation of Saskatchewan next to work collaboratively with the Ministry of Justice, hey, on, on how victims when they have experienced intimate partner violence, and they’re working their way through the justice system, what are the barriers for them to access justice? And how can we look at removing those barriers, so they so victims truly feel that they are receiving justice, ah, got it very complicated, lots of moving parts, but kudos to our provincial government for actually agreeing to partner with us in this and and setting some of their quite high level policy folks at the table with our working group, and we’re really excited to be working with them on hopefully being the catalyst for some real change within the justice system here in Saskatchewan.

Barb McGrath 26:00
Wow, that’s an impressive project. And it’s exciting to hear that that kind of work is is happening and can help shape those future campaigns that will stop us from littering and, and, and having violence in the home. Joanne Believe it or not, we are almost out of time. Can you share with all of our listeners? How would they get in touch with you or a member organization? Learn more about the organization or just reach out for help? What would someone do?

Jo-Anne Dusel 26:27
Well, I did mention that the abuse pages in the front of their SAS tell phonebook they can certainly check out our website, if they Google pads, pa th s like walking down multiple paths, the PATHS, they will find all kinds of information about the work that we’re doing information if you are being abused, how to get help. If you’re worried about somebody who you think may be experiencing abuse, we have information there on how you can support someone, what’s a good way to reach out. And for anybody out there who may be experiencing abuse or even aren’t sure that they are, I would really like for them to actually pick up the phone and make a call, they do not have to give their name that again, it’s confidential. These the phone lines do not describe to call display, hey, you can always call and just talk and just see what your options are.

Barb McGrath 27:20
Mm hmm. Okay, well, that’s very good to know. Thank you for sharing that. All right, we are basically at a time here today. So I would like to thank everyone for tuning in to 91.3 FM, CJ tr Regina community radio, you’re listening to our series women in leadership on the Secret Life of entrepreneurs. So thank you, Joanne, for being with me here today, again, to talk about a very important issue in our province in our community and in our society. If you’d like to learn more about what Joanne talked about today, please do a Google search for pads, pa th s, and whether it’s yourself that you’re concerned about, or someone that you know, well, so please take a moment and do that Google search. I will be back in just a couple of weeks and talking to a new guest in our series women on leadership. Each of these women are award winners with the YWCA Regina women of distinction, so congratulations as well, when we hardly even we didn’t get to that conversation. If you’d like to be a guest on the show, you can email me at Or you can reach out on Facebook and Instagram. And even leave us a question in advance of the live show. I’m your host Barb McGrath, local business owner and Google girl. Remember, you worked hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.


Barb McGrath’s been cracking the online code for nearly 20 years. She helps local businesses get to the top of Google with digital marketing training, web design, SEO, online reputation and advertising. Most importantly, she’s earned the trust of Google.Barb runs the only Google-approved agency designed to show you how to turn the online “stuff” into in-store buyers.If you depend on in-person customers, you need Barb’s step-by-step, online marketing plan to generate a steady stream of onsite buyers and make it rain money. She is the host of the Secret Life of Entrepreneurs, a local radio show and iTunes and Google Podcast.