Here’s why you should join the women’s march CARVER

PressReader - Tke Channel - Here’s why you should join the women’s march CARVER
When you are small, a lot doesn’t make sense. But then, time and ed­u­ca­tion pull back the lens, bring things into fo­cus, and mys­ter­ies are sud­denly made clear.When I was young, my mom put up with things that didn’t make sense. She tol­er­ated things that I couldn’t com­pre­hend, in­clud­ing phys­i­cal as­sault. Fights that started over dirty dishes cul­mi­nated in fists.My sis­ter and I breathed shal­lowly when voices were raised. We would slip into the same bunk, cud­dling in­stead of sleep­ing, while fights ex­ploded out­side our door, wait­ing to see if this would be just a scream­ing match, or worse. As a kid, I couldn’t un­der­stand how vi­o­lence could stem from such triv­i­al­ity.Dur­ing one par­tic­u­larly bad fight, I slipped into the closet and called the po­lice. They ar­rived and took state­ments. They told us the per­pe­tra­tor would not be ar­rested. How­ever, my mom, sis­ter and I had to leave. If we couldn’t find a host, we would be moved to a shel­ter, which is what hap­pened. We stayed for a few days.My mem­o­ries of those times re­main bit­ter­sweet. It was clean. Staff were fan­tas­tic. But we spent our days be­hind heavy, locked doors, and cam­eras abounded. We weren’t al­lowed to be alone, ever. We had to record our de­par­ture and ar­rival times. While I am grate­ful for this space and the won­der­ful women who ran it, I couldn’t un­der­stand why a man who as­saulted my mother was al­lowed back at home, while we were ef­fec­tively locked up.Then, about a week later, we moved back home with her as­sailant. Some­thing, again, that my child’s mind couldn’t com­pre­hend.How­ever, while we age, we learn. ThingsHalf of women in Canada have ex­pe­ri­enced vi­o­lence.be­come con­tex­tu­al­ized, and our adult minds grasp an un­der­stand­ing. As I learned about do­mes­tic abuse, I learned that, from the mo­ment I was born, I was at risk of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence ex­po­sure. My mother, a sin­gle, low-in­come par­ent, gave birth to me when she was very young. Low-in­come women are at higher risk of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, at times stay­ing in abu­sive re­la­tion­ships in or­der to keep their fam­i­lies shel­tered and fed. My mom val­ued in­de­pen­dence. In her mind, it was bet­ter to sub­ject her­self to blows than to live in a shel­ter. And, an abu­sive part­ner al­lowed her to split the bills, leav­ing space in her bud­get to buy us win­ter boots. As an adult, I started to un­der­stand.Gen­der-based vi­o­lence re­mains an epi­demic around the world and in Canada. Half of women in Canada have ex­pe­ri­enced phys­i­cal or sex­ual vi­o­lence since the age of 16, and 67 per cent of Cana­di­ans say they have per­son­ally known at least one woman who has ex­pe­ri­enced phys­i­cal or sex­ual abuse. Gen­der-based vi­o­lence dis­pro­por­tion­ally af­fects LGBTQ, In­dige­nous, im­mi­grant and dis­abled women.Ap­prox­i­mately ev­ery six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her part­ner, ac­cord­ing to the Cana­dian Women’s Foun­da­tion.On any given night in Canada, 3,491 women and their 2,724 chil­dren sleep in shel­ters be­cause it isn’t safe at home and about 300 women and chil­dren are turned away be­cause shel­ters are al­ready full. Shel­ters for vi­o­lence against women and fam­ily shel­ters in Ot­tawa are over-ca­pac­ity. The city’s di­a­logue on strate­gies for end­ing this short­fall re­mains non-ex­is­tent.Gen­der-based vi­o­lence must stop. It’s time to stand to­gether and de­mand ac­tion to make real change and make home and so­ci­ety safer for women. On Satur­day, at 11 a.m., Women’s March Ot­tawa will come to­gether to raise our voices to say “enough” to gen­der-based vi­o­lence. We will march in con­cert with mil­lions of women around the globe to shine a spot­light on gen­der-based vi­o­lence.As an adult, I un­der­stand bet­ter that abuse was not a cir­cum­stance just in our home, but an ex­am­ple of a wide­spread is­sue af­fect­ing many Cana­dian homes.Be­cause, when you’re small, a lot of the world doesn’t make sense. But now, as an adult, hav­ing ed­u­cated my­self and put things into per­spec­tive, I find it makes even less sense that gen­der-based vi­o­lence re­mains unchecked in so­ci­ety at large.Join us in say­ing “no more” to gen­der-based vi­o­lence.

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