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Women and Sexual Violence

What is Violence Against Women?


For years violence against women continues to be widely tolerated. Despite all efforts of eradicating this issue, it will not be achieved until governments, the media, and the general public acknowledge the seriousness of the problem; commit to addressing the root cause; and develop a strategic plan. 

Provincially, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, have consistently been reporting the highest rates of provincial police-related violent crimes including sexual assault. 

The United Nations defines violence against women as: 

"Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occuring in public or in private life."

This type of violence can include:

  • Physical abuse: Slapping, choking, or punching her. Using hands or objects as weapons. Threatening her with a knife or gun. Commiting murder. 
  • Sexual abuse: Using threats, intimidation, or physical force to force her into unwanted sexual acts. 
  • Emotional or verbal abuse: Threatening to kill her (or to kill the children, other family members or pets), threatening to commit suicide, making humiliating or degrading comments about her body or behaviour, forcing her to commit degrading acts, isolating her from friends or family, confining her to the house, destroying her possessions, and other actions designed to demean her or to restrict her freedom and independence. 

Some important facts.

Almost all Canadians (96%) believe all sexual activities should be consensual, yet only 1 in 3 Canadians understand what it means to give consent. 

1 in 5 Canadians between the ages of 18 and 34 believe if a woman sends an explicit photo through email or text, this always means she is giving consent to a sexual activity. 

Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16. 

If a woman is being abused, why does she not just leave the relationship? 

Women often stay because the abuser has threatened to kill them if they leave, or kill himself, or to kill the children. Other times it may be that they are financially dependent on their partner. Some women also choose to stay because they have strong beliefs about keeping the family together. Since abusers often express deep remorse and promise to change, it may take years for women to admit that the violence will never stop and the relationship cannot be saved. 

The long-term experience of being abused can destroy a woman's self-confidence, making it more difficult for her to believe that she deserves better treatment, that she can find the courage to leave, or that she can manage on her own. 

Information adopted from Canadian Women's Foundation

Violence Against Women - It's a Mens' Issue

Jackson Katz, PhD, is an anti-sexist activist and expert on violence, media and masculinities. As an author, filmmaker, educator and social theorist, Katz has worked in gender violence prevention work with diverse groups of men and boys in sports culture and the military, and has pioneered work in critical media literacy. Katz is the creator and co-founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program, which advocates the 'bystander approach' to sexual and domestic violence prevention. You will have also seen him in the award winning documentary "MissRepresentation." In this TEDTalk video, he discusses how the idea of sexual assault (among other gender violence issues) is looked at as a "women's issue", where in reality it is a mens' issue just as much! 

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