Healing Gaia

Time for Action on Violence Against Women

We deserve a government that values of all of its citizens.

By Doreen Nicoll
Published December 09, 2014

Enough already! Are you feeling like I am? Overwhelmed by the never ending media coverage of stories about rape culture on university and college campuses? How about workplace sexual harassment? Another woman returning to her abusive husband only to be killed before he committed suicide?

Well, here's a few things that you need to know. This is reality for all Canadian women:

According to the Ontario Coroner's Domestic Violence Death Review Committee 2012 Annual Report [PDF], an average of 24 women per year were murdered by their intimate partners in Ontario between 2002 and 2010. This number rises to 37 persons per year when you include murdered children and murderers who then commit suicide.

We blame women who are abused for staying with their partners. Often people are ignorant of the fact that a woman's chances of being murdered by her partner increases nine fold when she does leave.

Then, despite all the odds being against them, we expect women who leave to become financially viable while juggling more than one precarious job, child care, rent, food, commuting expenses and other monthly incidentals.

When she finds this an insurmountable task and returns to her abuser so her children have financial security, we blame her once again.

Time for Action

Society has great expectations for the victims of gendered violence. Yet we have few-long range, effective strategies in place to give these women a voice, an arena to get justice, and the help that they need to leave and remain free from abuse.

It's time to stop lamenting and start acting. So, here's what I'm doing. I've just joined the Up for Debate campaign. Over 3.5 million Canadians are asking the federal leaders to have a nationally broadcast debate in 2015 dedicated to issues identified by women.

To date, Thomas Mulcair and Elizabeth May have said that they're up for this debate. So let's all encourage Justine Trudeau on Facebook and Twitter and Stephen Harper on Facebook and Twitter to join the conversation because all Canadians deserve to know where the national leaders stand on these issues.

We need to know each political party's strategy for: closing the wage gap; creating a living wage Canada; a national housing policy; a universal child care policy; addressing climate change and other environmental issues; increasing the number of women in parliament; ending gendered violence; and launching a national inquiry into our murdered and missing Aboriginal women.

Collectively, Canadians share an active social conscience. We expect that our citizens should be able to live in an equitable, safe society. This debate makes perfect sense since women comprise 52 percent of our population.

Please add your voice and encourage all party leaders to participate in this debate. Do it for your mother, aunt, sister, partner, daughter, niece, granddaughter, but mainly do it for yourself! You deserve a government that values all of its citizens - we all do.

Doreen Nicoll is a feminist and a member of several community organizations working diligently to end poverty, hunger and gendered violence.

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