BC REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE MANIFESTO

WE STILL HAVE WORK TO DO IN BRITISH COLUMBIA AND CANADA

Re-blogged from Reproductive Justice

Sexual and reproductive health (SRH) advocates in BC and across Canada have joined their voices together to demand reproductive justice. Advocates are calling on the federal and provincial governments to do more than make statements or release small amounts of funding – they must take real action to improve people’s access to SRH in Canada.

In the recent ruling of Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has upheld a Mississippi law that outlaws nearly all abortions at and after 15 weeks gestation. The majority’s decision overturns the 1973 ruling in Roe v Wade that protects a pregnant person’s right to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 26 states have existing laws that will definitely or likely ban abortion access for people who can become pregnant, creating “abortion deserts” in large swaths of the country and forcing many to travel long distances to a safe state.

While Canada’s system of justice is different, we still have work to do to ensure access to abortion and to break down lingering stigma around abortion. As sexual and reproductive health advocates, we call on governments to take action on a range of issues that people living in Canada continue to face. We also encourage everyone to reach out to their MLA and MP to ensure that SRH is an issue they are prepared to address and fund.

THE BC GOVERNMENT MUST:

  • Make contraception free and universally accessible in BC and across Canada.

  • Ensure that comprehensive sex education is taught to the standards set by the Ministry of Education in BC.

  • Strengthen abortion access in rural and remote areas.

  • Do not give Crisis Pregnancy Centres any government funds or tax credits, and require them to clearly disclose their anti-abortion agenda to clients.

  • Make abortion accessible within the City of Vancouver’s Access without Fear/Sanctuary City policy framework, which allows undocumented people to access free care.

  • Implement $10/day childcare.

  • Make sexual and reproductive health care more trans- and gender-inclusive, including training healthcare providers on appropriate practices and language, and other initiatives led by the trans community to reduce stigma.

  • Provide meaningful additional funding directly to provincial health systems, earmarked for abortion access, rather than directing funding through non-government bodies.

 

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MUST:

  • Enforce the Canada Health Act against provinces that fail to provide accessible or fully funded SRH care or abortion (such as New Brunswick and Ontario).

  • Increase the federal health transfer to provinces to enable them to expand SRH services, including funds earmarked for abortion care.

  • Require compliance by all provinces with the Canada Health Act provisions on abortion access.

  • Quickly implement the promised Health Canada web portal that will feature accurate, unbiased information on SRH and rights, including correction of abortion myths.

  • Revoke charitable status for anti-choice groups.

  • Continue to fund SRH and reproductive justice around the world, including safe abortion in the global South.

  • Relax the regulation of abortion medication by allowing Mifegymiso to be obtained over-the-counter and through advance provision, so that (much like with Plan B) people have immediate access to the medication they need, when they need it.

  • Guarantee asylum and immunity to abortion providers and advocates fleeing violence, criminal prosecution, or civil lawsuits for their reproductive justice work.

Read the full Manifesto 

BWSS Recommendations to BC Budget 2023 Consultation

Anyone living in the province can share their ideas and priorities for the next provincial budget in 2023. Every year, the provincial Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services holds a public consultation on the next provincial budget, and then reviews all input received and makes recommendations to the Legislative Assembly for the next provincial budget.

We invite you to fill out the survey and make your own submission through the BC government consultation portal. The deadline is Friday June 24, 2022 at 3 pm.

Budgets are moral documents, reflecting our social priorities and values. Make your voice heard! For far too long, anti violence services supporting survivors have been under-resourced, and survivors of gender-based violence who are Indigenous, Black, racialized, immigrant/refugee, disabled, trans and/or nonbinary, LGBTQI2S+, living in rural and remote areas, and poor/low-income face tremendous barriers to accessing safety and justice.

Below are BWSS’s top three priorities and recommendations for the provincial government. As a decolonial, anti-racist, and intersectional feminist organization, our recommendations to the provincial government support the wellbeing of survivors and their children to access meaningful safety and justice; the full funding and delivery of timely and reliable intersectional anti-violence services with full wrap-around supports; and the elimination of gender-based violence through robust preventive measures and funding for universal public services and community supports.

1. BWSS recommends that the provincial budget prioritize full, wrap-around, timely, reliable, and inclusive supports for survivors of gender-based violence, especially in the form of core funding for anti-violence services. Ideally, a universal, coordinated, and integrated system of support services must be adequately funded by the province.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, has intensified and become a shadow pandemic. Crisis lines, including BWSS’s crisis line, and violence against women shelters in B.C and Canada are reporting increases of 20 to 50 percent, while national rates of reported fatal femicide are also increasing. In particular, survivors of gender-based violence who are Indigenous, Black, racialized, immigrant/refugee, disabled, trans and/or nonbinary, LGBTQI2S+, living in rural and remote areas, and/or poor or low-income continue to face the highest rates of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, domestic violence, and femicide.

Yet, anti-violence services face growing wait lists, with survivors waiting months, if not years, to access essential services such as crisis support counseling and safety measures. Survivors of gender-based violence require urgent access to full, wrap-around, timely, reliable, and inclusive anti-violence support services that meet their needs based on their lived experiences. The province must drastically increase core (not solely program) funding for emergency shelters, crisis lines, second stage housing, and wrap-around services.

Survivors experiencing multiple forms of oppression require access to fully funded anti-violence services committed to intersectional service delivery that considers how violence is experienced differently by different survivors. For example, in order to end violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two spirit people, the provincial government must fund services and safety planning led by Indigenous women who are creating and implementing their own culturally-safe, decolonial solutions.

In addition to fully funding anti-violence services, B.C must fund evidence-based, upstream, preventive measures that eliminate conditions of vulnerability maintaining gender-based violence. This includes robust funding for universal & accessible healthcare, childcare, social assistance, income security, decent work, transportation, and housing.

2. BWSS recommends that province prioritize funding for and expanding programs for children and youth experiencing violence in B.C (children and youth that have been exposed to and/or witnessed domestic violence or abuse). Currently, the PEACE (Prevention, Education, Advocacy, Counselling and Empowerment) programs across B.C are grossly under-funded.

PEACE (Prevention, Education, Advocacy, Counselling and Empowerment) programs (formerly Children Who Witness Abuse programs) in B.C provide crucial group and individual counselling for children and youth aged 3 – 18 who have witnessed domestic abuse, threats, or violence in the home. Individual and group counselling and, where adequately funded, seasonal camps help children and youth recognize abusive behaviour, learn the tools to cope with their experiences and emotions, and consider alternatives to violence in their own behaviour. PEACE programs also offer support to the parents and caregivers of the children and youth.

This program is a vital resource and early intervention program to support children and youth who witness or experience violence in the home and helps stop the inter-generational cycle of gender-based violence and domestic abuse. However, PEACE programs across the province are hugely underfunded. In some cases, PEACE programs only involve one counsellor who is working part-time hours, and with no wrap around services able to be offered as part of the program.  PEACE programs working with children and youth who face additional barriers in society based on racism, colonialism, gender, class, sexuality, ability, citizenship status etc., need to offer children and youth appropriate, comprehensive support, but often cannot offer these crucial supports and services because PEACE programs are under-resourced and unable to meet unique needs.

Therefore, we strongly recommend that the provincial government drastically increase funding for the existing 90+ PEACE programs across B.C to ensure these programs can fully and appropriately provide high-quality, long-term, accessible, timely, culturally-safe, intersectional services and wrap around supports for children and youth who have witnessed violence in the home. Further, we recommend that the provincial government immediately expand the PEACE program to meet the growing need for PEACE programs across communities in B.C.

3. BWSS recommends the province prioritize new, ongoing annual funding for legal aid services for family law & child protection matters. Fur survivors of gender-based violence, especially low-income racialized mothers, ongoing gaps in legal aid service delivery for family law & child protection matters creates serious barriers to accessing justice.

For survivors of gender-based violence, especially low-income racialized mothers, ongoing gaps in legal aid service delivery for family law & child protection matters creates serious barriers to accessing justice. While the province has increased legal aid funding over the past few years, it is still not enough and far too many are falling through the cracks of a broken system.

We strongly recommend the province urgently prioritize fully funding legal aid representative services for family law and child protection issues so that no survivor in B.C must sacrifice their safety, the best interests of their child(ren), or their financial security in order to flee and separate from an abusive partner. When fleeing domestic violence, intimate partner violence, and/or sexual abuse, the complexities and stresses of navigating a legal system without legal counsel is an intimidating and traumatic burden and becomes a significant barrier to both seeking safety and to accessing justice. Further, access to fully funded legal aid representation must be timely; the longer family law matters go on without resolution, the greater the risk of serious family violence.

Finally, the complex, overlapping legal needs of survivors dealing with family law and child protection matters who are Indigenous, Black, racialized, immigrant/refugee, disabled, trans and/or nonbinary, LGBTQI2S+, living in rural and remote areas, and poor must be considered. For example, a legal study in B.C has found that most child protection decisions to remove children permanently from their parents overwhelmingly involved Indigenous single mothers who experienced extreme domestic violence, mental health challenges, addictions, and poverty. Access to fully funded, timely, accessible, culturally-safe legal aid services would mitigate against the injustice of the colonial child welfare system, which the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) explains “continues the assimilation that the residential school system started.”

Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence During Pregnancy

Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence During Pregnancy

Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence During Pregnancy

It’s more common than you think

While pregnancy can bring out a new or renewed tenderness in many relationships, domestic violence is more common than any other health problem among women during pregnancy.

Domestic violence — also known as domestic abuse or intimate partner violence — can happen to anybody. It doesn’t matter your gender or age, where you live, your race or ethnicity, how much money you earn, how old you are or your sexual orientation. And it’s more common than you might think among pregnant women.

Domestic violence increases as the pregnancy develops as well as in the postpartum period. A history of violence and being single/living apart are the strongest risk factors for domestic violence during pregnancy as well as postpartum.

 

Birth Control Sabotage and Reproductive Coercion

Domestic violence can increase a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant and the number of children she has, both because the woman may be coerced into sex and because she may be prevented from using birth control.  A correlation has been shown between large families and domestic violence.  Whereas previously it was thought that having many children and the resultant stress of large families increased likelihood domestic violence, it has been shown that the violence commonly predates the births.

Pregnancy itself can be used a form of coercion and the phenomenon of preventing an intimate partner’s reproductive choice is referred to as reproductive coercion. Studies on birth control sabotage performed by men against women partners have indicated a strong correlation between domestic violence and birth control sabotage.

Birth control sabotage, or reproductive coercion, is a form of coercion where someone manipulates another person’s use of birth control – weakening efforts to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Replacing birth control pills with fakes, puncturing condoms, and threats and violence are examples of prevention of an individual’s attempt to avoid pregnancy. Pregnancy-promoting behavior of abusive male partners is one method of domestic violence and is associated with unwanted pregnancy, particularly in adolescents.  Reproductive coercion itself is a form of domestic violence because it results from unwanted sexual activity and hinders a woman’s ability to control her body. Forced pregnancy can also be a form of financial abuse when a woman becomes trapped in a relationship because the pregnancy has led to economic dependence for new mothers.

Pregnancy can also lead to a hiatus of domestic violence when the abusive partner does not want to harm the pregnancy and the potential birth. The risk of domestic violence for pregnant women is greatest immediately after childbirth.

Although pregnancy can be a protective period for some women, either in terms of a hiatus of pre-existing violence, for others it is a risk period during which abuse may begin or escalate. Women with violent partners have a hard time protecting themselves from unintended pregnancy and sexual violence can directly lead to pregnancy.  Studies consistently indicate that domestic violence is more common in large families. However, international studies show that 25% of women are abused for the first-time during pregnancy.

 

Reasons for Intimate Partner Violence during Pregnancy

When women are asked to speculate on why they thought they were abused during their pregnancies. The answers were categorized into four categories.

  • Jealousy towards the unborn child
  • Anger towards the unborn child
  • Pregnancy specific violence not directed toward the child
  • “Business as usual.”

 

What can trigger domestic violence and abuse during pregnancy?

Intimate partner violence may begin or intensify during pregnancy, when having a baby triggers unexpectedly negative emotions in a woman’s partner.

A partner might feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of a baby, especially if the pregnancy was unplanned. He or she might also be experiencing intense stress over money and the long-term financial responsibilities of raising a child.

Sometimes partners even become angry or jealous if a mom-to-be is focusing less on their relationship and more on the baby.

In some cases, unfortunately, those emotions play out against the mother and her unborn child but remember, even if a partner is unhappy, domestic violence or abuse is never the victim (or the baby’s) fault.

 

Intimate Partner Violence can include:
  • physical violence: Slapping, punching, kicking, burning, biting, the use of weapons including knives or guns, or striking your belly in an effort to harm or end the pregnancy
  • Physical abuse: Forcing you to smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs
  • Withholding medical care: Keeping you from going to prenatal appointments or leaving you without pregnancy-related medical care (including withholding medication or prenatal vitamins)
  • Sexual violence: Forcing you to have sex or engage in a sexual act you don’t want to participate in
  • Psychological abuse: Trying to control what you can or cannot do, stalking, threats, making you feel diminished or embarrassed, forced isolation from family and friends, blocking your access to a safe person with whom you can discuss abusive behaviour (insisting on attending prenatal checkups and concealing abuse by answering questions for you, or threatening you if you disclose details of your abusive situation, for example), forbidding you from attending celebrations related to the pregnancy like baby showers
  • Emotional abuse: Putting you down, humiliation, name-calling (e.g., calling you fat because of your changing body), continual criticism (like saying you won’t be a good parent)
  • Reproductive coercion: Threats or violence related to a decision to continue or end a pregnancy, or forcing you to have an abortion
  • Financial abuse: Withholding money for basic needs, not letting you spend money on baby essentials, keeping you from attending work, closely monitoring your spending, or stealing money from you

 

How is domestic violence during pregnancy different from normal arguments?

There’s a big difference — though if you’ve been suffering from abuse for a long time, it can be hard to tell. It’s normal for couples to fight sometimes and even for the arguments to get intense or heated.

What’s not normal or okay is when your partner starts exhibiting violent or abusive behavior or making threats to hurt you. Hitting, kicking, throwing objects, or forcing you to engage in sexual acts all count as abuse — even if the abuser apologizes afterwards and promises not to do it again.

Putting you down, trying to keep you from contacting your friends or family, or telling you that the abuse is your fault isn’t normal arguing either.

 

How does abuse affect your pregnancy?

In what should be a joyful time in your life, domestic violence can have serious effects, causing both physical injuries and psychological harm and can contribute to gynecologic disorders and sexually transmitted illnesses including HIV.

Abuse can affect your unborn baby too. Potential pregnancy complications include preterm delivery, low birth weight, placental abruption, uterine rupture, hemorrhaging, fetal injuries, and, in the very worst instances, miscarriage, stillbirth or death of the mother.

An abused mom-to-be may be less likely to take care of herself during pregnancy by eating poorly, not seeking out prenatal care or misusing licit or illicit substances or alcohol.

In many cases, an abusive partner may not stop being abusive to a pregnant partner or the baby once the child is born. Children who are exposed to domestic violence are at a greater risk of being neglected and abused themselves, and are more likely to develop health, behavioral and psychological disorders as they get older.

 

How to get help

Some abused women fear that no one will believe them or take them seriously. Some feel as though they’re the only ones going through this or that they themselves are the cause of the problems.

It’s important to know that calling for help in the face of violence or abuse isn’t overreacting. It’s simply protecting yourself and your pregnancy. Advocates are on your side and can help get you through a terrible time.

Here’s how you can get the help you need.

 

Reach out to someone you trust.

Seek help from a trusted friend, family member, community member who has your best interests in mind (not someone who’s close with your abusive partner) or a medical provider.

At BWSS, we are here 24/7. We can help you:

  • make a safety plan that includes your pregnancy and any other children
  • with legal information and advocacy
  • find safe transitional housing or housing advocacy
  • emotional support and support groups
  • accompaniment to hospital and/or police

 

Call us 24/7 to make an appointment to speak to a support worker

1-855-687-1868

Or email us at [email protected]

Healing Connections Support Group

women's support group

BWSS is thrilled to announce the Healing Connections support group has resumed in person meetings for the first time since 2020.

At BWSS Support Groups are intrinsic to empowerment and empowerment is at the heart of healing from the oppression of abuse and violence. One of the very first programs BWSS offered, for over 40 years, Healing Connections has provided a safe place to connect with each other in order to alleviate isolation, share information, raise awareness and heal.

This drop in support group meets every Tuesday at our confidential office from 12pm to 2pm. The group is for women, trans women, transfeminine, and women with trans experience who are dealing with the impacts of past or current experiences of gender-based violence. Folks are welcome to attend when they need to access support, information, and/or a safe place to share.

When the group meets, trained facilitators support discussion ranging from:

  • Criminal system
  • Power and control
  • Cycle of violence
  • Resources
  • Coping tools
  • Emotional Support
  • Building Connections

For more information call BWSS Intake and Crisis Line 604-687-1867 or send an email to [email protected].

Healing Connections Poster

Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Harassment in the Canadian Armed Forces

On May 30, 2022, Louise Arbour, a former Supreme Court Justice and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, delivered her powerful report, the Independent External Comprehensive Review into Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Harassment in the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces.

In her report, Arbour sheds light on the causes for the continued presence of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). She writes,

“Firmly entrenched in its historical way of life, the military has failed to keep pace with the values and expectations of a pluralistic Canadian society, increasingly sophisticated about the imperatives of the rule of law. Operating as a totally self-regulated, self-administered organization, entirely reliant on deference to hierarchy, it has failed to align with the ever-changing, progressive society we live in.”

Describing the Canadian military as espousing “the glorification of masculinity as the only acceptable operational standard for CAF members,” Arbour further notes, “When thinking about culture change in response to the sexual misconduct crisis, the CAF leadership seems to have been incapable of examining which aspects of its culture have been the most deficient. In none of the initiatives it has launched, is there a single reflection on whether its insular, hierarchical structures may have facilitated the abuse of power that characterizes most sexual misconduct.”

 

Arbour’s recommendations call for a sweeping change in how the Canadian military addresses sexual misconduct.

As she noted in a press conference releasing the report, “I see no basis for the Canadian armed forces to retain any jurisdiction over sexual offences and that jurisdiction should be vested exclusively with civilian authorities.” Her recommendations include:

  • permanently transferring all sexual assault investigations to the civilian criminal legal system, instead of having them investigated by military prosecutors and the military legal system.
  • transferring sexual harassment complaints to the federal Human Rights Tribunal, and stripping the Canadian Armed Forces of its ability to object to any complaint related to sexual harassment or discrimination on the basis of sex that is brought forward to the Tribunal.
  • updated definitions of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.
  • an end to training military officers at the Royal Military Colleges in Kingston and St. Jean, which breed a “culture of misconduct” and maintain a “continued prevalence of sexual misconduct.”

 

Investigations into military sexual assault in Canada are not new.

At least six top military officials are currently facing investigation by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service for sexual assault, sexual misconduct, indecent acts, and/or obstruction of justice.

In 2016, seven former members of the Canadian Armed Forces initiated class action lawsuits (commonly referred to as the “Heyder and Beattie Class Actions”) against the Government of Canada alleging sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual misconduct in connection with their military service and employment with the Department of National Defence. In 2015, an External Review into Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Harassment in the Canadian Armed Forces was undertaken, and a key finding was that “there is an underlying sexualized culture in the CAF that is hostile to women and LGTBQ members, and conducive to more serious incidents of sexual harassment and assault.”

In 2021, retired Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps who led the 2015 external review, criticized the Canadian Armed Forces for not having done more to address sexual misconduct and for letting her recommendations gather dust for six years.

Even further back, dating back to 1998, women who were sexually assaulted in the Canadian Forces were speaking out. For example, 19-year Dawn Thomson reported being raped in her sleep, while another man watched on. A media investigation into Dawn’s sexual assault and a number of other similar incidents found that women in the Canadian Forces “are often little more than game for sexual predators,” and further found “a systematic mishandling of sexual assault cases: investigations were perfunctory, the victims were not believed and often they—not the perpetrators—were punished by senior officers who either looked the other way or actively tried to impede investigations.”

A recent academic study of sexual assault trials conducted by the Canadian military over the past twenty years reveals some disturbing trends. Since 2015, only one soldier has been convicted of sexually assaulting a female member of the Canadian Armed Forces by Canada’s military legal system. The military legal system also has a substantially different acquittal and conviction rate than civilian criminal courts, which are already so dismal. This horrific culture of impunity and military sexual assault is pervasive around the world. In the US military, for example, approximately 38% of female and 4% of male military personnel have experienced military sexual trauma, and, in 2018, one in four active-duty women officers were sexually harassed – the majority by someone in their chain of command.

In 2018, 20,500 service members in total were sexually assaulted or raped, representing an almost 40% jump in two years. Only a small minority of victims chose to report the violence and most of them faced retaliation, including one-third of victims being discharged after reporting. Further, despite a 23% increase in sexual assault reports since 2015, convictions have plummeted by almost 80% in the same timeframe.

The prevalence of military sexual assault parallels the misogyny embedded within the RCMP in terms of its treatment of women police officers and women employed by the RCMP.

Broken Dreams, Broken Lives: The Devastating Effects of Sexual Harassment On Women in the RCMP” was authored by former Supreme Court Justice Michel Bastarache in 2020 after a class-action settlement that saw more than 3,000 RCMP women officers file claims for compensation for sexual harassment within the RCMP.

In his review, Bastarache found that the sexual harassment of women RCMP officers cannot be seen as a problem attributed to a few individual “bad apples.” In his wide-ranging and scathing report, Bastarache stressed “For more than 30 years there have been calls to fix sexual harassment in the RCMP. Internal and external reports have been delivered both to the RCMP and the Government of Canada outlining a toxic work environment for women and LGBTQ2S+ persons employed by the RCMP. It is well past time for the Government of Canada to take meaningful and radical action to address these issues.”

Similar to Arbour’s depiction of military culture, Bastarache notes “the traditional, paramilitary, male-dominated culture of the RCMP has given rise to too many incidents of harassment, bullying and an apparent refusal to acknowledge the realities of a diverse society and workforce.”

 

Finally, it is crucial to remember that this violent sexual assault within the Canadian military exists alongside and as an extension of sexual assault, gendered violence, and rape by the military as a key instrument of empire, colonialism, war, white supremacy, and domination.

Conflict-related sexual violence is defined by the United Nations as “incidents or patterns of sexual violence, that is rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity against women, men or children.”

As a decolonial, intersectional, and anti-racist feminist organization, we don’t believe that feminist equity for some can come at the expense of life and freedom for others. Revoking the license to rape within the ranks of the military is simply not enough when the military maintains a license to kill. We remember those like Shidane Abukar Arone, a sixteen-year Somalia teenager who was beaten and tortured to death by Canadian soldiers in Somalia. Arone’s last words were reported to be “Canada! Canada! Canada!”

We echo the words of Lucas Edmond: “It will be fundamentally impossible to solve a culture issue in an institutional environment that pays people to commit and morally justify heinous acts of violence abroad. The violence people are trained to conduct in conflict zones permeates internally, creating victims within the CAF’s own ranks.”

Elizabeth Mesok of the Center for Gender Studies at the University of Basel similarly writes, “By collapsing military sexual violence within a broader campaign for military women’s equality, rape is conceptualized as a violent action against women, rather than an act of gendered and militarized violence endemic to a hyperaggressive military culture.”

 

Militarism reproduces and enforces gender-based violence because militarism is itself ideologically rooted in masculinist and patriarchal violence to dominate, dehumanize, and subjugate.

The Center for Women’s Leadership at Rutger’s University describes “Militarism as an ideology creates a culture of fear and supports the use of aggression, violence, and military interventions for settling disputes and enforcing economic and political interests. Militarism privileges violent forms of masculinity, which often has grave consequences for the safety and security of women, children, men, and society as a whole … A culture of militarism is built over time through the construction of the “enemy,” the indoctrination of children, and the creation of myths about the nation as well as “the other”. As a result, militarism is linked to nationalism. Feminist theory and action provide means of both analyzing and opposing militarism and its links to violence against women. It enables an analysis of the power relations that buttress militarism and exposes the ways in which male violence is constructed as a legitimate form of control. In addition to providing analytical tools for deconstructing militarism, feminism also challenges normative views of peace. For feminists, peace is the absence of all violence, including all forms of gender-based violence.”