Written by Lynnaea Le Drew, Support Worker, Howe Sound Women’s Centre Society
According to the Full Participation Report on the UN analysis of the status of women and girls over the past 20 years, violence against women and girls “persists at alarmingly high levels.” The analysis on women and girls’ progress and the state of gender equality is clear, we’re not there yet. While some substantial gains have been made since the Beijing declaration on gender equality in 1995, significant gaps remain. Violence against women and girls continues to be a “global epidemic.”
Violence against women is rooted in gender inequality. Social norms regarding gender and sexuality and weak sanctions against gender inequality perpetuate and condone violence against women. “In our society, both men and women receive many messages- blatant and covert- that men are more important than women” (Canadian Women’s Foundation). This fundamental inequality breeds beliefs commonly held by abusive men that men are superior, central and deserving in the relationship, used to justify their behaviour to maintain power and control (Cory & McAndless-Davis, 2008).
Prevention of Violence Against Women Week (April 12-18) was created to raise awareness about the issue and encourage efforts to prevent and reduce violence against women and girls. Rosie Batty, experiential woman and advocate states, “There are so many women and children living in fear and it should not be happening. Not in this day and age…But it is.” The Sea to Sky Corridor is no exception. In 2013-2014, 66 women and 27 children accessed our transition house or safe home. Support staff fielded over 250 crisis calls through our 24 Hour Crisis Line and received over 3,500 visits to our Women’s Centres.
Exposing violence against women, promoting gender equality and challenging community attitudes that perpetuate and excuse violence is essential to ending violence against women. Rosie Batty explains, “We need to discuss it. We need to debate it. We need to hold people with unacceptable behaviour accountable. Because when we do discuss it openly, our distorted views of what we think violence is and its cause comes out. And we can challenge each other.”
On Sunday April 12 help us bring violence against women out from the shadows. We are calling on the men of the Sea to Sky Corridor to take a stand against violence against women by participating in Sea to Sky Walk a Mile in Her Shoes. Part of the international men’s march to end gender violence, participants will walk a symbolic mile in a pair of specially designed high heel shoes (provided by the Women’s Centre).
Sea to Sky Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® Whistler
Sunday, April 12, 2015
Mogul’s Café, 4208 Village Square, Whistler, BC
Event Day Schedule:
Registration: 3:00 pm
Walk Starts: 4:00 pm
We are encouraging participants to raise a minimum of $25 in pledges. All proceeds will support Howe Sound Women’s Centre Society programs.
Download registration and pledge forms at www.hswc.ca/walkamile or pick up forms from Whistler Women’s Centre, 1519 Spring Creek Drive.
Fact Sheet: Moving Women Out of Violence, Canadian Women’s Foundation, 2013. Available: www.canadianwomen.org/sites/canadianwomen.org/files/PDF-FactSheet-StopViolence-Jan2013.pdf
‘Mother Courage’, All About Women, Rosie Batty, 2015. Available: http://www.mamamia.com.au/news/rosie-batty-red-flags/
No Ceilings: The Full Participation Report, 2015. Available: http://noceilings.org/report/report.pdf
When Love Hurts: A Woman’s Guide to Understanding Abuse in Relationships, Jill Cory and Karen McAndless-Davis, 2008.