More needs to change

Culture shift needed to combat violence against women

It has been 30 years since a homicidal misogynist marched into École Polytechnique in Montreal, declared feminists had ruined his life and killed 14 women with a semi-automatic assault rifle.

Each year, we rightfully commemorate the victims of this horrific event in Canadian history, but what has really changed?

According to Northern Society for Domestic Peace executive director Carol Seychuk, what has changed is awareness. She said reporting of serious violence against women has increased ten-fold, from around two per cent in 1989 to 22 per cent today.

What has not changed is the violence.

We have not had another mass shooting, but last year a self-described “incel” (meaning involuntary celibate) killed eight women and two men in a van attack on a Toronto sidewalk.

According to a Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability (FOJA) report those eight women were among 148 women and girls killed in 133 violent incidents in Canada in 2018. In 12 of those cases, no accused has been identified. In the other 121, 140 people have been accused. More than 90 per cent of those 140 are men.

Only 21 per cent of the accused were unknown to their victims. By contrast, 53 per cent of the alleged killers were intimate partners and another 13 per cent were other male family members.

And that is just the violence that results in death.

Bearing in mind that most family violence goes unreported, every year between a quarter and a third of all reported violent crime is intimate partner violence (IPV) and four out of five IPV victims are women. There were roughly 96,000 victims of IPV in Canada in 2017.

Extrapolate that to all the unreported incidents and it is an epidemic that seems to defy explanation.

There was much discussion surrounding the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre on banning military-style weapons in Canada. The new Liberal government has promised to ban guns like the one used at École Polytechnique.

If indeed that is part of the solution, it is an exceptionally minor part.

What is required here is a complete culture shift.

It starts with boys.

We must, as men, as fathers, as uncles, as brothers, as friends and as colleagues model behaviour and language that states unequivocally it is never OK to treat women and girls badly.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

RCMP patrol of smokehouse sparks concerns by Wet’suwet’en hereditary leader

Hereditary Chief Woos says he is feeling uneasy after RCMP attended the smokehouse with rifles

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

Council votes to pen letter to fisheries minister asking for earlier Chinook opening date

The DFO is set to reassess Chinook fishing ban in Skeena River on July 15

Native Women’s Association calls for police reform in wake of recent Indigenous deaths

Chantel Moore and Rodney Levi both recently died following interactions with police

Town pushes forward with Active Transportation Plan, postpones Third Street bike lane

The Strategic Priority Committee made a number of recommendations at their June 2 meeting

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

Canada Day tractor incident kills three children, injures seven in Quebec

The tractor driver has been arrested following the accident

Undercover operation exposes prominent human trafficking problem in Greater Victoria

VicPD’s Operation No More took place in mid-June at a local hotel

Tsilhqot’in Nation demands meeting with feds on declining Fraser River chinook stocks

The Nation wants to partner with DFO to rebuild and recover the stocks

PHOTOS: Dual rallies take over Legislature lawn on Canada Day

Resist Canada 153 highlighted colonization and genocide, Unify the People called COVID a hoax

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

‘A little bit scary for everybody’: Air passengers wary as new rules take effect

Masks or face coverings have been mandatory on flights since April 20

Most Read