National Indigenous Peoples Day was first established in 1996, and it actually means a lot to me as an Indigenous woman in Canada. Like the day of the national apology on residential schools in 2008, I still remember the day it was announced by the government, and I have celebrated it annually in the context of family and community ever since. Unlike some Indigenous peoples, I identify to a certain degree as a Canadian, although it is a complicated and ambivalent relationship to be sure. However, National Indigenous Peoples Day is not about government recognition for me. It is about celebrating tremendous Indigenous resilience and survival against great odds. I often think about my ancestors who came before me, who persisted and resisted against government forces and inhumane attempts to eradicate and erase our Indigeneity, relationship to land and ways of knowing.
Every year, Father’s Day is a natural opportunity to discuss the role of fathers in the lives of children. Lately, this conversation has evolved to become an opportunity to discuss masculinity and how fathers can be caring adult role models, providing positive definitions of masculinity to boys. Based on a surface level internet search for Father’s Day, this conversation is desperately needed.
What do you think of when you think of World Health Day?
For many, domestic abuse isn’t on the list of issues they’d think of, but it should be.
Physical or sexual abuse is a public health problem. One that, tragically, affects one third of girls and women worldwide. This isn’t a problem that is limited to certain regions or even countries. It’s one that exists right here in Canada, and in Ontario. In the homes of our family and friends, in the workplaces of of our neighbours, and in our own backyards.
Valentine’s Day. It’s a day synonymous with red roses, chocolate, and love. For many though, the day is not full of happiness. Some may be reminded of a painful past relationship, or even left feeling alone if they are not currently in a relationship.
When approached to write this blog post I was thrilled as I enjoy writing and the topic is one that is near and dear to me. I have the distinction of being a woman with a disability (albinism/nystagmus) and I have worked in this field for over thirty years as a court advocate, group facilitator trainer and researcher. I was blessed to be the disability strategy coordinator for NFF.
The focus of my work has been in the context of disability and intimate partner violence. It has been well established that women with disabilities and Deaf women are victimized at a higher rate than temporarily abled women. A good amount of research has focused on violence in the context of being perpetrated by care givers not to mitigate that aspect my focus has been in the context of intimate partner violence.
70 years ago, on December 10, 1948, the United National Genera Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This milestone proclaimed that everyone had rights - regardless of gender, race, colour, religion, language, origin, political opinion, or other status. It is the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages. The Declaration sets out universal values for all people and nations, establishing the worth and dignity of every person.
Approximately every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner.
Let that sink in. If you think we have achieved gender equality, it’s time to think again.
Women abuse is still a prevalent issue in our country, one that affects everyone. In fact, 67% of Canadians say they have personally known at least one woman who has experienced physical sexual abuse.
What should consent look like? Some argue that consent must be acquired and provided clearly and explicitly prior to any sexual activity, while others believe that while consent is necessary, expecting such candid statements to become popular is unrealistic. Although society must work towards becoming more comfortable with the idea of explicitly requesting and giving consent, difficulties using such unemotional language are understandable. Fortunately, there are ways to acquire consent that can feel more fun and natural.
Peace. It’s something many of us wish for, all over the world. For wars to stop, for bombings to end, for refugees to be able to return to their homes in safety.
And for others, peace means something closer to home. A home free of violence - of hitting, of screaming, of verbal abuse, or sexual abuse.
in recognition of this year’s International Day of Peace, we want to talk about peace at home, recognizing the major and long-term affects that an abusive home can have on those growing up in it, and what any one of us can do to help.
It starts in the home.
It starts with changing beliefs.
It starts with educating others.
It starts with ensuring more protection and support for victims.
And it starts with holding abusers accountable.
At every opportunity, in every context, domestic violence must be stopped.