November 25 marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and kicks off 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence which ends on December 10 with International Human Rights Day.
Abuse and violence can happen in any relationship and between different genders, but the reality is men are more likely to use physical and sexual violence against women. We also know that men are more likely to use violence against other men. This is a gendered problem. This is a men’s problem.
No matter what abuse is never ok. Abuse is always a choice. If you are experiencing abuse, remember it is not your fault, and no one deserves abuse. If you know about abuse happening, or if you are experiencing abuse tell someone you trust. Teens in Manitoba can also use phone lines for support. The Klinic Crisis Line is 204-786-8686 or 1-888-322-3019, Kids Help Phone is 1-800-668-6868, both are free. Kids Help Phone also offers online chat or text support at 68 68 68.
In Canada, December 6 is also an important day as it’s the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada. This day commemorates the 14 young women whose lives ended in an act of femicide; murder because they were women. December 6 represents an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the gender-based violence in our society. It is also an opportunity to consider the women and girls for whom violence is a daily reality, and to remember those who have died as a result of gender-based violence. And finally, it is a day on which communities can consider concrete actions to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.
The Impact of COVID-19
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there are growing reports that all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, has intensified. With higher rates of unemployment and the unprecedented stress that the pandemic brings coupled with an inability to leave for safer spaces is leading to this increase in violence. But COVID-19 stress and lockdown does not excuse violent behaviour. Again, abuse is a choice. While not all services are offered in their normal way, programs to support men in choosing to stop their violence, or to support women and girls who experience violence are still available.
In Winnipeg places like NorWest and Sage House can help. For men choosing to end their violence and learn healthier ways of coping with their emotions, Klinic runs the Evolve program. Right now many of these services are offered virtually. Women can also access supports at local community Women’s Resource Centres. Finally, you can reach out to the Domestic Violence Line by calling 1-877-977-0007