Violence Against Women

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Restorative Justice at Dalhousie Is a Depiction of Rape Culture

The University of Dalhousie is currently facing a scandal regarding some fourth-year male dentistry students who have been caught posting sexually violent and misogynistic comments on a Facebook page. It was announced last night that the University will proceed with a restorative justice process. While some may think it might be an appropriate response to join together both parties in order to come to a mutual agreement on an appropriate punishment, in this particular case -- and in all cases of violence against women -- this route is likely to favour the perpetrators and disappoint or further victimize the female victims.
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25 Years After the Montreal Massacre, Gender-Based Violence Still Thrives

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.

How This Boy Realized His Abused Mother Is a Super Hero

A 30-year-old women came to my office and cried because after a decade of abuse, she had mustered the courage to leave a horrific and impossible situation. She was now being forced out of the shelter, and she had no job, no food, and did not know how she was going to support her children. Her son sat beside her, rolling his eyes.
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We Can't Stop Violence Against Women If We Love Celebrity Abusers

Sure there are stars who saw temporary road bumps in their career for their publicized violence against women like Roman Polanski, Mel Gibson, Chris Brown, Tommy Lee, Ike Turner, Bobby Brown and Nicholas Cage. But most of them bounced back and continue to have devoted fans. What message does that send to women who have been abused? That their life is not as important as a great film or song or game or show? What does it say about each of us that we likely have admitted to appreciating the talent of at least one famous abuser?
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A Letter to My Son About Jian Ghomeshi

This letter was written by my husband and he has agreed to let me share it here. I hope it inspires you as much as it inspires me. One of the first girls I dated had been raped by a past boyfriend. She went to court and wasn't able to prove that he did anything they hadn't consented to, so he wasn't punished. At the time, she lived in a small town and the gossip forced her family to move away. Before her, I don't think I was really that aware of rape or consent. I'm sure that I'd had the "no means no" conversation in health class but until her it didn't really mean that much to me.
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Why We Shouldn't Be So Shocked By Jian Ghomeshi

Jian Ghomeshi has been revered as attractive, popular, successful, a ladies' man -- until now. Now we see that this man, nearly 50 years of age, may have been thinking and acting like a spoiled child who totally believes the world revolves around him -- and that he may feel completely entitled to have all of his needs met, sexual and otherwise. Personally, I am more surprised that we are so surprised!
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Why We Need To Remove the Stigma Around Men Who Seek Therapy

I started by telling you about my own experience in the world of abuse. I did this because those experiences are what helped me understand the importance of healing in light of a frightening situation. These women -- our sisters -- need our support and understanding to heal. But we cannot forget the men. At some point we are going to have to turn around and help heal this man. Many will think he is undeserving, but he too experienced trauma in his life which he has had to cope with. I'm not talking about forgiveness, I'm talking about compassion.
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I Care About Eight Alleged Victims, Not Jian's "Due Process"

This story broke with four women. This morning as I write this the number is up to eight, including the very much loved "Trailer Park Boys" actress Lucy DeCoutere. How high does the number have to go before we're able see the stinking rot through all the blinding smoke and roses? Why are we so willing to let this system stay the way it is? Why do words like "due process" and "innocent until proven guilty" sting so much? Why aren't we fixing this?
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The Critical Steps a Woman Must Take Before Leaving an Abusive Partner

If you are a friend or family member of a woman living with abuse the best thing you can do is to believe her, offer her non-judgemental support and a listening ear and to help her connect with her local women's shelter or similar community agency. Most of all always put her safety first. Never talk about the abuse in front of her abuser and 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.
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Are Canadian Universities Doing Enough to Prevent Sexual Assault on Campus?

Recently in the U.S., the Federal government has taken a strong zero tolerance stance on sexual assault. This increased intervention in sexual assault on university campuses made me wonder -- are we doing enough in Canada to prevent similar outcomes? Are we doing enough to prevent sexual assault and ensuring the safety of young women in our country? According to statistics on Canadian campuses published on the York University website, 29 per cent of female undergraduate students in Canada report incidences of sexual assault.
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Elliot Rodger Proves the Danger of Everyday Sexism

This "give me what I'm owed" attitude is prevalent -- ask any woman who's ever been to a dance club and been cornered and made to chat, had her ass grabbed, her tits groped. I'm talking about literally every woman I know. What's interesting is that this attitude is rarely articulated quite so clearly by the actual person perpetrating the violence -- in many ways, Rodger was more upfront than most about his sexist ideology. He admitted to it, then he acted on it, and the consequences were enormous. Now that #YesAllWomen has shown the world what it feels like to be female, I hope that the little, "insignificant" instances of everyday sexism are no longer brushed aside.
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Elliot Rodger Killed Women Because He Believed He Was Superior To Them

If you are a man and reading this, you might be thinking "But not all men would hurt women." That's true. Not all men would. But all women have been dehumanized by a man. That's what's forgotten in this conversation -- there's so much defensiveness from men. Please listen to what we have to say. We're telling you that this happens enough that every woman has a story. Not all men do this, but enough men do that the default is to be distrustful and wary around men. Elliot Rodger believed in the lies the Men's Rights Activist Movement told him.
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The Men's Rights Movement Taught Elliot Rodger Everything He Needed to Know

When you look the statistics on violence against women, Elliot Rodger's act doesn't seem so much like a one-off incident. He was participating, albeit in a grandiose public way, in the time-honoured tradition of controlling women with violence and punishing them when they don't behave as desired. This is what the Men's Rights Movement teaches its members. Especially vulnerable, lonely young men who have a hard time relating to women. It teaches them that women, and especially feminist women, are to blame for their unhappiness. This is what the Men's Rights Movement does: it spreads misogyny, it spreads violence, and most of all it spreads a sense of entitlement towards women's bodies.

Don't Let Speaking Out Be a Taboo

How is it that we live in a culture where speaking out is still taboo? A culture where so many blame victims for their own abuse. Where women are afraid to report or seek assistance because they worry that they will not be believed? But today and every day, I choose not to be heartbroken.
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Men Must Give Up Some Privilege For Violence Against Women to End

Fear is a tactic repeatedly used to stop the denunciation of violence against women and to keep women oppressed. This fear forced on women by the patriarchal social order encourages women to remain silent and allows society to mask men's violence. Individually and collectively, we ask men to reflect on the ways in which they can question the exercising dynamics of power against women and contribute to the denunciation of men's superiority and domination.
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The War in Afghanistan Made the Country Better

The challenges that remain in Afghanistan are significant and they are copiously documented elsewhere and do not require repeating here. But the challenges should not overshadow the progress, and what can be concluded from the state of affairs in Afghanistan today is that Afghanistan is far better off today than it was in in 2001.