Violence against women is not just a women's problem
Today is International Women’s Day.
The theme for 2013 is Working Together: Engaging Men to End Violence against Women, a theme that touches the lives of people from all age groups, ethnic backgrounds and economic classes, as well as both men and women.
Overall, crime rates in Canada are falling. However, statistics show violence against women remains a serious problem.
Consider the following statistics from the Canadian Women’s Foundation:
• On any given day in Canada, more than 3,000 women — along with their 2,500 children — are living in emergency shelter to escape domestic violence;
• Every six days a woman in Canada is murdered by her boyfriend or husband;
• More than 40,000 arrests annually are a direct result of domestic violence, or about 12 per cent of all Canadian violent crime. Since only about 22 per cent of all incidents are reported, the real number is higher;
• About 67 per cent of all Canadians personally know at least one woman who has been sexually or physically assaulted;
• In just one year, 427,000 women over the age of 15 in Canada reported they had been sexually assaulted. Only about 10 per cent are reported; and
• About half of all Canadian women have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual abuse since age 16.
With statistics like these, it is fair to assume there is violence against women happening right here in the Elk Valley too.
Men have a vital role to play in ending violence against women. Much of it is about changing the attitudes of our peers.
It is important to be a good role model, especially with children and young adults. Emphasize the importance of treating women and girls with respect.
Offer support to victims of abuse and violence. Encourage them to get help.
If you have a friend or family member who is abusive, call them out on it. Encourage them to face the roots of their own personal problems, which lead to the abuse. Don’t ignore what you see, or think it is none of your business.
No one deserves to be a victim of abuse, physical violence or sexual assault. But they deserve to be helped.