November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It also marks the start of the annual international campaign, 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. This is a time to engage in discussion, education, and activism about violence against women and gender based violence and think about the role each one of us can play in helping survivors and making our families and communities safer.
Know the Facts
Gender-based violence (GBV) is violence that is committed against someone based on their gender identity, gender expression or perceived gender. GBV happens all the time and has devastating effects. Some key figures from the UN:
-1 in 3 women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner.
-137 women are killed by a member of their family every day. In Canada, a woman is killed by her intimate partner approximately every six days (Stats Can, 2021).
-Less than 40% of women who experience violence seek help of any sort.
Boys and men can also be victims of GBV. Stereotypes and beliefs about masculinity play a huge role in sexual abuse that takes place in hypermasculine environments such as prisons, the military, sports teams, and fraternities. Gendered norms about masculinity also contribute to silence and shame by male victims of sexual violence and their inability to disclose or seek support. In short, GBV affects us all.
Supporting Victims of Violence
Some victims may choose to disclose the violence they suffered. If someone you know decides to share their experience with you, remember that disclosing can be a difficult decision. Creating a safe, welcoming and non-judgmental environment is one way to show your support. You can also help the victim explore various options (e.g. counselling, reporting, getting medical assistance) or help search for resources to support them.
Supporting Shelters and Sexual Assault Centres
If you have the means, donating money or your time to local sexual assault centre, shelters, or other organizations that support victims of sexual and gender based violence can save lives. If you live in Ontario, you can find your local shelter/sexual assault centre here:
- Sexual assault centres: Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC)
- Shelters: Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH)
These organizations provide essential services and supports to victims. At Beckett, we have been long-time supporters of our local sexual assault centre, Anova. Our sexual abuse lawyers have also provided legal information and training to similar organizations around the province. What are some ways that you can join the fight against GBV and support victims?
Educating the Next Generation
It is our responsibility to educate the next generation on how to treat each other with dignity and respect. Discussions about consent, healthy relationships, and sexuality are important conversations that we should have openly. Talking about violence and violence prevention is equally important. When you speak up about these issues, victims know that they can trust you and talk to you when they experience something traumatic.
How Beckett Can Help
If you or someone you know is the victim of sexual violence, Beckett can help you get the justice you deserve. Our compassionate team of lawyers have extensive experience advocating for survivors who have endured traumatic experiences. We are committed to making the litigation process as pain-free as possible. If you or someone you know wants to discuss your legal options, please reach out. For a free case evaluation, fill out our contact us form and we will be in touch with you shortly.
Published on November 25, 2022