When I first started writing this article, I stopped and thought: shouldn’t this be in a men’s magazine? Don’t women already know the violence they face? Is it really our job as women to teach men that violence and abuse are wrong?
Well, if no one else will stand up for us, we have to, right? So maybe this is more of an article about standing up for ourselves and creating change. Just because violence against women has become somewhat normal— half of all Canadian women have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16 and 67% of all Canadians have personally known at least one woman who has experienced physical or sexual abuse—doesn’t mean we stop fighting for change.
Did you know that approximately every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner? And Indigenous women are killed six times more than the rate of non-Indigenous women.
Gender inequality is present in many areas of our society. Every day, men and women receive messages that it is natural for men to have more power than women. This enforces the false belief that men have a right to control women, including using violence. This is simply wrong.
Raising awareness is necessary. Social awareness and change are crucial. The courageous act of telling your story and advocating for yourself and other women can help challenge gender inequality and how our society deals with violence against women.
Promoting gender equality is crucial in preventing violence. Research shows that school, community, and media interventions can promote gender equality and prevent violence against women by challenging stereotypes that give men power over women.
School programs that address and challenge gender norms and attitudes as well as dating violence and sexual abuse among youth, can help educate young people before those norms become too deeply ingrained. Community interventions function similarly but can include older adults and other community members. Community programs with well- trained facilitators can change attitudes towards traditional gender norms and violent behaviour.
Once you decide to get involved and make a difference, you will find a multitude of ways to create change.
Change starts right here, right now. It starts with us. It starts with you.
Note: Are you or is someone you know a victim of domestic violence? Here’s a list of resources across Canada. You can also call 911 at anytime. Remember; it’s not your fault. Ever.
You might find our article on imposter syndrome helpful as well.