We must stop this culture of gender violence

Courtesy: Straight.com

November 29, 2011

Catherine Murray and Jen Marchbank

Remember Canada’s fallen women next Tuesday. Despite our peaceable self image, Canada has been home to femicide, appalling massacres, and serial killers. December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada.

But unlike November 11, this national day of mourning has not achieved the same symbolic recognition. Yet, for many women, gender war has bloody consequences. The Parliament of Canada set aside December 6 as a commemorative day in 1991.

December 6 marks the anniversary of the murders in 1989 of 14 young women at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. The news stories of the day wrestled to tell the truth but had trouble saying these women died simply because they were women. Media tried to pin their murders on deviant psychological causes, rather than exploring the underlying factors which promote hatred against an identifiable group.

Stories of gender violence abound even today. They include the Kingston trial against so-called “honour killing”, the suicide of the Ottawa teen Jamie Hubley due to homophobic bullying, or the “punking” of cyberstalkers looking for sex with young girls online in Chilliwack.

The most epic and chilling local tragedy is the Oppal commission’s dedication to dodging even broader issues of human loss connected to the disappearance of women in the Downtown Eastside and on the Highway of Tears. Such terrible news in Canada is too frequent and too systematic over time to be mere aberration.

We allow a culture of gender violence to grow on the underbelly of our society, and cultivate a determined oblivion. We turn away from what is happening under the cloak of a globally intensifying obsession with security. We focus on “macho” masculine war cultures and we increasingly resort to rape as a weapon of civil war.

The World Health Organization has found:

• On average, between 30 percent and 60 percent of women surveyed experienced some form of intimate partner or sexual violence. This figure ranges from 15 percent in Japan to 71 percent in Ethiopia.

• Many women’s first sexual experiences were forced: Peru, 24 percent; Tanzania, 28 percent; Bangladesh, 30 percent; and South Africa, 40 percent.

• In South Africa, two in five youth (ages 13 to 23) reported being a victim of physical violence during dating.

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Compare this inhume treatment with was is taught by Islam

 

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