Trigger Warning: This post is for International Women’s month and about Sarah Everard regarding violence against women. While not graphic in nature it may upset some. Please be aware.
What is Gender-Based Violence? It has been recognized that most gender based violence happens against girls and women–by men.
Women and girls often walk in fear. This is not okay.
It’s not funny.
It’s not acceptable.
It’s not about boys will be boys.
It’s not about being meek and mild.
It’s not something that should be ignored.
Girls are not chattel.
Girls are not born to be slaves or to be traded amongst men.
Girls are not sex toys. They are not a commodity.
They are human beings and deserve respect, safety, and dignity.
Education must start at a young age. Boys must learn that it’s not okay to belittle, harass, or hurt girls.
And girls must be taught what a healthy relationship looks like and recognize that violence toward them is never acceptable or normal.
Let’s take a look at Canada…
The Facts from the Canadian Women’s Foundation
67% of Canadians know a woman who has experienced physical or sexual abuse.
6X Indigenous women are killed at six times the rate of non-Indigenous women.
6,000+ women and children sleep in shelters on any given night because it isn’t safe at home.
What is the Foundation doing about gender-based violence?
- Teach teens how to create safe healthy relationships
- Help women in immediate danger to leave abusive relationships
- Help women and children rebuild their lives after violence
Sidebar: This particular issue is not only global in scope, but also a complicated matter intertwined with culture, religion, politics, history, and human nature. With movements like Black Lives Matter finally gaining some momentum, the outcry for those marginalized and without a voice is surfacing around the world, and that includes gender based violence. The discussion is becoming louder and more public. This is a start.
Until recently, I’d never heard the name Sarah Everard but was intrigued by a trending topic on Twitter titled: “She was just walking home…”
The story of Sarah Everard should be heard by all. This incident of violence against women happened in the United Kingdom but it’s happening all over the world and we all need to stand up for the Sarah’s of the world.
On March 3rd, 2021, Everard, 33, was last seen walking in a public park path around 9pm. She was on her way home after visiting a friend. Her boyfriend reported her missing the next day and a search ensued.
A week later her body was found. She’d been murdered. But the story doesn’t end there….
The alleged murderer was an active police officer at the time of the murder. He’s now been charged.
While there was outrage at the murder itself, it escalated as a vigil was scheduled, then cancelled (due to covid), but still saw hundreds of people show up. Later, photos of police brutality were shown as physical force against the mourners was documented. Read more about Sarah here .
The issue of violence against women is not a new one, but it’s gotten to a point where the rights of suspects is put before those who may be vulnerable and should be able to live without fear in our society.
In Canada, we’re not immune.
Just last week I was watching the local Vancouver news where a young woman was followed by a male stranger for 40 minutes.
She turned. He turned.
It was six o’clock in the early evening. It wasn’t dark and he wasn’t hiding. His actions were very overt but his intent unknown.
She used her phone to video him over her shoulder as she gave a play by play of the incident unfolding. Click here to see the news story.
The incident finally ended when the woman went to some strangers and asked for help. The police now have other possible victims coming forward with similar stories.
Too often women may be seen as hysterical, paranoid, or over-reacting. By videoing the guy there’s now evidence and the young woman is being taken seriously.
Gender based violence is terrifying to say the least. The saddest thing is that it robs a woman of her fundamental freedoms and limits choice.
The murder of Sarah Everard has taken on the rallying cry of
Just like the young woman in Vancouver… she was just walking home. What more everyday normal activity is there than simply going home?
The world is a tough place.
There is systemic racism within society and its agencies/programs/systems, and there is also systemic misogynistic sentiment that breeds contempt and adds fuel to gender based violence.
Everyone should be outraged by what happened to Sarah Everard and the young woman walking in Vancouver. These are just incidents we are aware of… How many are happening everyday all over the world.
Violence takes on many faces but if you don’t speak out it will get worse.
Whether in the form of rape, assault, name calling, isolation, intimidation, harassment, gaslighting and any/all intimidation–physical, emotional, psychological, reporting it can at least leave a record and leaving can save a life.
In our western society we forget how much violence against women takes place around the world. There are terrible, violent atrocities like those discussed by plan international such as:
GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE CAN BE IN THE FORM OF:
- Child marriage
- Female genital mutilation
- Honour killings
- Trafficking for sex or slavery
- Intimate partner violence
- Physical punishment
- Sexual, emotional or psychological violence
I have no answers. The world is a complicated and scary place sometimes. There are so many forms of inequality that affect the lives of individuals in all societies. I can’t fix the world but I can help teach and spread the message of strength, power, and resiliency. I can share stories and experiences of others who have no voice. Their stories may in turn empower a woman to take action–whatever that looks like. Living your best truth in a safe environment, without judgement or threat of violence is the goal.
If you are a victim of violence and are in immediate danger call 9-1-1
Here is a Canadian Government site to assist you in finding resources and services. Click here.
If you’re in the U.S.A.: look here.