31 Things British Columbia Can Do Right Now to End Violence Against Women
Originally posted by The Jane Doe Advocates Group on March 1, 2013
We believe that an end to violence against women and gender inequality is possible. Over the past two decades, reports and plans have filled bookshelves, filing cabinets and hard drives. These documents have been generated through community-based and academic research, though project evaluations and through government consultations. Many of these reports have been informed by the hard-won expertise and insights of anti-violence organizations, feminist activists and women who have personally experienced gendered violence. Some have included excellent analysis and powerful recommendations, but implementation has consistently been spotty at best.
Women in British Columbia have waited too long already. That is why we are offering 31 things that BC’s new Provincial Office of Domestic Violence (PODV) can push for right now to increase safety for women and to bring us closer than we have ever been to ending violence against women once and for all. We are calling for 31 social, economic and legal changes, none of which are unachievable in this province. Some would require very little financial investment, and each of them will save resources in the long term given the high costs of violence against women.
We chose March 2013 to put forward these practical recommendations to mark International Women’s Day and to honour BC’s long and vibrant history of feminist activism. Everything we are proposing is built on a solid foundation laid by women who came before us and by women across the province who continue to work tirelessly to put an end to gendered violence and to achieve substantive equality for women. We have already sent the full list to PODV.
Over the coming month we will be releasing one thing BC can do each day. We are inviting women and men who believe in a world without gendered inequality and violence to join us in tweeting, posting to facebook and otherwise sharing one thing that BC can do to end violence against women each day for the month of March.
To keep up to date, follow us this month on twitter @janedoelegal
To mark International Women’s Day 2013, here are 31 things British Columbia can do right now to promote women’s safety and while addressing the root causes of gendered violence:
1. Call violence against women what it is
Language shapes the way we view the world. It also shapes the way we act within it.
According to statistics Canada, approximately 83% of all police-reported domestic assaults are against women and over 80% of victims of dating violence are women. The severity and frequency of violence against women who report spousal violence is also much higher that violence reported by men, with women being three times more likely than males to report that they had been sexually assaulted, beaten, choked or threatened with a gun or a knife by their partner or ex-partner during an assault. Yet, “violence against women” is disappearing from policies, legislation and public discussions and being replaced by gender-neutral terms like “domestic violence” and “partner assault.”
This linguistic shift erases the gross disproportionality and qualitative difference in gendered patterns of violence.
When talking about gendered violence and power-based crimes, euphemisms and legalese allow us to remain comfortably detached from disturbing truths —the truth that assault is not a “dispute,” rape is not “sex” and sexual harassment is not “joking around.” When we shift our language in law, in policy, in the courts and in everyday life we make systemic problems visible and open up the possibility for identifying appropriate solutions.
Endorsing Organizations and individuals
Atira Women’s Resource Society
Battered Women’s Support Services
Pivot Legal Society
Samnani Law Corporation
WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre
West Coast LEAF
YWCA of Metro Vancouver
Isabel Chen, Co-Director of Keep Safe Initiative
Tracey Young, Forensic social work consultant, Catalyst Enterprises BC