Just days after the 23rd anniversary of the Montreal Massacre and National Day of Action on Violence Against Women, a new study shows that Canada still has a long way to go.
According to new findings from the Canadian Women's Foundation, 67 per cent of Canadians have known a woman who has experienced physical or sexual abuse. The study also found that Alberta had the highest reported incident rate at 74 per cent.
On November 25, Rona Ambrose, Minister for the Status of Women, launched a 16-day campaign to raise awareness for ending violence against women. On the final day of the campaign, she urged Canadians to continue their efforts, according to a press release.
"Our Government recognizes that all Canadians — women and girls, men and boys — must be part of the solution to ending violence against women and girls," said Minister Ambrose. "Let us reaffirm today that we will continue national, regional and local community actions to end violence against women and girls wherever it occurs."
The Women's Foundation study also found that 74 per cent of women were more likely to have known another female who has experienced types of physical or sexual abuse, compared to 59 per cent of men.
This year, our country has seen several examples of physical or sexual abuse against women of all ages. In January, the Shafia trail ended with three family members charged in the murder of three teenage daughters and another woman. This summer, a 15-year-old boy was charged in several sexual assault cases against 16 women in Toronto. And for decades now, dozens of aboriginal women have been reported as missing just in Manitoba alone.
For more information, please contact the Assaulted Women’s Helpline at 1-866-863-051.
Canadian Women's Foundation also has four tips if you know or have a suspicion that a woman is experiencing some type of abuse:
If someone is in immediate danger, call 911 or the emergency number in your community right away. Also, make sure you are aware of listed community numbers and helplines and save them in your contact list.
"Never talk to anyone about abuse in front of their suspected abuser. Unless she specifically asks for it, never give her materials about domestic abuse or leave information through voice messages or emails that might be discovered by her abuser," according to the Foundation.
If she wants to talk, listen. If she doesn't want to talk, simply tell her that you are concerned about her safety. Offer help, but don't offer to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
If she stays in the relationship, try not to judge her. Remember, she has to make her own decisions and leaving an abuser can be extremely dangerous.