Staying Safe

Back to Basics to End Violence Against Women and Girls

November 20, 2020

Violence against women is all around us. It’s engrained in our cultures, often passed down generationally, it’s in the media we consume, in locker room talks and certain jokes, in the way society treats women, in our workplaces, and in some of our homes. The sobering fact that one in three girls or women have been affected by abuse means that it is very likely every one of us knows someone who has been abused.

As we look back at October - Women’s History Month - and highlight November - Canada’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month - we want to move the topic of domestic abuse into the forefront of conversations. There is something we can all do to help end the epidemic of violence against women and children, from understanding that abuse comes in many forms, to making a phone call if we see, hear or know of any abuse occurring.

The Neighbours, Friends and Families campaign highlights the important message that we can all play in helping to end violence against women. We cannot underestimate the significance of looking out for one another - our family members, our friends, our neighbours, and our coworkers. When we make a pledge to ourselves to stand up to attitudes that objectify women or create hatred for any groups of people, we are one step closer to helping eliminate misogyny, racism, homophobia, and violence.

Beginning November 25, we will also be taking part in the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. For this year’s campaign theme - #OurActionsMatter - we will be highlighting 16 actions we can all take to help create a safer, more equal world for girls and women everywhere.

Here are some ways - both small and big - that we can all work to end this violence.

  •    Educate yourself on the signs of woman abuse
  •    Believe survivors
  •    Don’t victim-blame - rape and abuse are never the fault of the victim
  •    Speak out against violence and misogyny in media
  •    Always get consent before pursuing or engaging in sexual or physical contact with someone
  •    Set an example for kids by showing respect to others, including a romantic partner
  •    Speak up when you see or hear any form of harassment
  •    If you witness harassment - at school, in your workplace, in your home - report it
  •    Post awareness materials, such as posters and infographics - in common areas such as restrooms, break rooms at work, community centres, and schools. 
  •    Understand that victims and survivors of abuse have the right to make their own choices. Respect their choice, even if it means they stay in an abusive relationship. Continue to support them.
  •    Refrain from encouraging toxic masculinity. Instead, celebrate all aspects of masculinity, including empathy and sensitivity.
  •    Engage men in helping to end violence against women. Men must be a part of the conversations.
  •    Most sex offenders are known to their victim. Teach children about consent and how to talk to safe adults if they are victimized in any way.
  •    Let kids know that is okay to say no. Respect this right, even if it means not hugging a family member.
  •    Speak up for anyone who doesn’t have a voice or who doesn’t feel safe to speak for themselves
  •    Become an active bystander by avoiding the bystander effect. Call for help when necessary.
  •    Speak respectfully about women and treat all girls and women with respect.