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.
How do you help a friend who is being abused? Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to know when someone is being abused, and many people just don’t know how to help, despite how much they care. This can also be true for younger women, especially teenagers who may not have had any education about how to distinguish between health and unhealthy relationships.
As parents, caregivers or teachers of teens, there are some important steps to take when it comes to talking to teens about healthy relationships and dating violence. Keeping the lines of communication open and ensuring you create a judgement-free, supportive environment is key. We’ve already discussed how dating violence is most definitely a teen issue and some typical warning signs to be on the lookout for. In this post about teens and healthy relationships, we want to go over some key points on how parents, caregivers and educators can talk to teens about these important issues.
When I was first asked to write a blog post in honour of Canada’s National Aboriginal Day on June 21, my first thought was of my recently passed Grandmother June McKay, because her birthday is on June 21. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with my grandmother’s cousin and close friend, Geraldine Robertson. Like my grandmother, Geraldine is also a strong, resilient, and beautiful First Nations woman. Geraldine is a residential school survivor. On May 5, Geraldine and I sat down for tea at her home on Aamjiwnaang First Nation. We discussed resiliency, making connections, and how she has supported other survivors to begin their healing journeys. In recognition of her work raising awareness about the legacy of residential schools, Geraldine was recently inducted into the Order of Ontario.