When the gunman, a rejected engineering student, shot those young women he was enraged that they were pursuing studies in a profession he believed was meant for men. That was a quarter of a century ago. Today, more and more women are flooding into professions, including engineering, once considered male preserves, but there is still so much more progress to be made in changing those attitudes that enable gender-based violence.
Today is the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which kicks off 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. This year has seen an explosion of women speaking out against abuse and public discussion about the crisis of violence against women. But in every other way, nothing much has changed.
The report calls for a national plan to address violence against immigrant and refugee women and immigration policies that better support immigrants in precarious circumstances. It calls on the federal government to abolish the two-year conditional status for sponsored spouses, reinstate access to the Interim Federal Health program to all refugee claimants and uphold the privacy of all people who have access to social and health services.
After 18 years of social work with survivors of gender violence and offenders, you start to notice a few patterns -- especially with how abusers rationalize how they treat women. They have figured out the rules of the game and take comfort in the ultimate insurance policy: that society protects men who beat and violate women.
China's recent ruthlessness has shocked many including Emily Lau, a long-standing Member of Hong Kong's Legislative Council. In a recent interview, she said: "These demands are modest and reasonable and protesters are peaceful. There is no compromise. The ball is now in China's court. Promises were made."
We are witnessing political, social and economic exclusion of young people in many countries around the world. Frustration and resentment are mounting. We feel the power of these young people. We fear their anger and their numbers. But we don't listen to what they are saying. We need to stop seeing young people as a threat and make them part of the solution.
The reality is that domestic abuse is far too common in society and that includes Canada. According to a Statistics Canada study 50 per cent of women in Canada have experienced physical or sexual violence since the age of 16. Think about that for a minute. Look around your office, your classroom, the street your walking on; statistically every second women you see will have suffered violence. And domestic violence is not just limited to people we don't know or people we don't see. Think about your friends and your family, your co-workers, and your classmates -- any of them could be victims of domestic violence.
To these women this isn't just the monster who kicked them down the stairs or told them they were worthless. He's also the man who romanced them and won their heart, the man they sleep next to, the man they make love to, the man who may be the father of their children, the man they build a life with together. To walk away from him is to walk away from the good moments, from the dream of that life. The possibility of what might have been, if only he could change and see the light. Abuse victims didn't "ask for it" or "like it" or "cause it." They are victims, and asking "why didn't they just walk away" -- whether unintentional or not -- blames those victims.
Lone-acting offenders were far more likely to have a history of mental illness than offenders who had been part of a group. Lone-actors with mental illness were also more likely to have a spouse or partner who was part of a larger movement (making them more vulnerable to outside influences) and to have parents who were divorced. Though offenders acting alone are often characterized as being "loners" without any real sources of emotional support, that doesn't appear to be the case.
The real solution to the flood of illegal immigrants from Central America is not higher walls or more guns to combat gangs, but to follow the path of Chile. Increased economic freedom, open to all not just the elites, would give youth an alternative to gangs and create the prosperity, opportunity, and calm that will keep people at home.
Some of our ultimate values as a civilization have swirled around children. They have prompted our drive towards education, health, training and opportunity. What does it say about us, then, that we are willing to accept the increasing death of millions of children in conflicts in which they have had no responsibility?
When the headlines fade, the daily, persistent, and pervasive violence against girls and women around the world will continue unabated and generally unreported. And it will persist until people and their governments start connecting the dots between these headline-making atrocities and the everyday, out of the headlines, violence targeted at girls and women on public streets, in the household, in the workplace, and in and around schools and why these incidents happen.
Last month, it was reported that an Edmonton woman was badly beaten by her spouse. Though the attack put her in the hospital, the police offered a silver lining by stating that her unborn baby, at least, wasn't harmed. Sadly, this claim underestimates the profound effect severe stress can have on children's development in their first years of life, including while they're still in the womb.
On Thursday night, Montreal Canadiens player P. K. Subban scored the winning goal against the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal. Predictably, Boston fans were outraged. In this case, though, with Subban as one of the few black players in the league, their anger took a sickeningly racist turn.
I woke up Wednesday morning to a message from my friend Nathan. He had been attacked on his way home from another friend's house. In spite of how fortunate he is to be alive, this story didn't have to end this way. One of the most troubling parts of what happened is the fact that no one stopped to help him while he was lying there unconscious. We can't let it be this way. If you see someone being assaulted or attacked, please do something. I'm not saying that you should intervene or put yourself in danger, but there are so many ways to help.
Youth leaders ask tough questions: what studies of the RCMP's "Bias-Free Policing policy" have been, or are being undertaken, to ensure that no bias does exist? Do mothers feel their children's deaths were considered less important because of their background, and do they believe the investigations into their children's deaths were treated the same as other victims?
Given the recent incidents involving male students from the University of Ottawa, several commentators have raised concerns regarding the rape culture on university campuses. Drawing upon a feminist perspective, female students and faculties have initiated diverse actions to end violence towards women, but we now ought to consider how men can act as allies in this movement.