Violence against women is a violation of human rights

Violence against women is a violation of human rights The use of male intimidation and violence has been a strategic way for men to hold positions of power over women for many years. We hear the stories from women who endure violence and yet have a forg

The use of male intimidation and violence has been a strategic way for men to hold positions of power over women for many years. We hear the stories from women who endure violence and yet have a forgiving heart and just want the violence to end. Women work hard and are strategic in securing the safety of themselves and their families. Statistics and reality show women are more at risk at times of separation from their abuser and this is one of the reasons why some women return to abusive partners.

Other examples of why women return to abusive partners is the threat of further violence to self, children, other family members, pets, property, pressure from other family or community members, negative responses from RCMP, the justice system, fear of involvement by Family and Children’s Services, the demoralizing feeling of asking for help from the Department of Indian Affairs or Social Assistance, and the lack of safe and affordable housing.

Violence against women is a gendered crime, enabled and even promoted by diverse forms of systemic sexism. Women in some social positions are more likely to face violence from a partner and to encounter negative social responses because of their personal choices. First Nations, Metis and Inuit women, immigrant and refugee women, women living in poverty, and women with disabilities are more likely to face violence.

It is important to understand the violence that some women are required to respond to. At times is dangerous for some women even to strategize quietly to explore options, capacity and local resources. Other times, the victim can secure safety to participate in the justice system and elects to use the media and other public forums. Women’s groups such as Kaushee’s Place work for the victim to support them in the difficult and complex decisions they make. I would suggest that it is not the responsibility of victims of violence to display their abuse for public consumption to ensure that society upholds the safety of women. It is our responsibility to urge the leadership of all of our governments to create legislation for safer communities.

We acknowledge the courage of those who come forward and speak out against violence.

Join the declaration to uphold the human rights of women in the Yukon.

The former governor general of Canada, Michaelle Jean, convened a conference on Women and Security on September 9 and 10, 2010 in Ottawa. Over 120 women and men participated. The participants were leaders from many communities and constituencies representing Canada in all its diversity of race, ethnicity, class, disability, language, sexual orientation and age, from every province and territory.

Participants issued this declaration at the conclusion of the Governor General’s Conference, with a call for urgent action, addressed to the Government of Canada and governments in Canada at all levels, to renew their commitments to the full realization of women’s human rights, as set out in international human rights treaties that Canada has ratified, and to make immediate and adequate allocations of resources to achieve that end. Participants noted that policies and programs that promote equality and flourishing for all Canadians cannot be developed without the participation of women. Participants also urged all Canadians, women and men, to join with them in their organizations and communities to build a Canada in which women and men can flourish equally.

Barbara McInerney

Executive director, Kaushee’s Place/Yukon Women’s Transition Home