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Changing the Narrative around Gender-Based Violence

Updated: Dec 22, 2021

Between November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) and December 10 (World Human Rights Day) is the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (Government of Canada, 2021). Then there is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, held on December 6, for people to remember all those who have experienced gender-based violence.

1 in 3 women will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime (PSHSA, 2021)

Unfortunately, gender-based violence is still a huge issue, not only in Canada but in all other parts of the world too. Women, girls, the 2SLGBTQQIA+ (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, plus) community face unacceptable levels of violence, harassment, and discrimination (Government of Canada, 2021). This violence is not just verbal harassment (ex. sexual comments) as we walk down the street, it can happen at home, at work, and out with friends and family. It's an inescapable atrocity many women and other gender-diverse individuals face and cannot control.

Human Rights Watch: "Millions of female workers are forced to work in an intimidating, hostile or humiliating environments, and experience various unwelcome forms of sexual conduct. Women are asked for sexual favours, exposed to inappropriate jokes, insinuations, and comments, and unwanted physical contact that can amount to assault. Despite its massive scale, sexual harassment in the workplace remains under-reported because of fear of disbelief, blame, or social or professional retaliation."

The world needs a new narrative! Are we as a society okay with raising future generations in a world where our daughters will be afraid? Are we okay to keep a society hostile to so many? Gender-based violence doesn't happen out of the blue, it's influenced by larger social systems, workplace environments, social media, television, news, and the government. Every aspect of our society influences what people grasp as acceptable and unacceptable.

(Eszter Czajkowski-Nyári, 2020)

(Eszter Czajkowski-Nyári, 2020)

It is vital to adopt comprehensive and inclusive approaches to tackle the root of gender-based violence. We all can transform harmful gender norms, empower women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals, and create a new narrative to uplift and encourage, rather than discriminate and disrespect (EWIH, 16 days of activism against gender-based violence).

Canadian Women's Foundation does outstanding work on educating, bringing awareness, and supporting the movement against gender-based violence. It's an amazing resource for learning more about the issues that women, girls and gender-diverse individuals face regularly.

If you or someone you know are experiencing abuse or gender-based violence, here are some help-lines in Canada:

> Assaulted Women's Helpline - Toll Free: 1-866-863-0511

> Fem'aide (French) - Toll Free: 1-877-336-2433

> Talk4Healing (Indigenous) - Toll Free: 1-855-554-4325 Photo credits: (Eszter Czajkowski-Nyári, 2020)

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