Violence Against Women in Canada
By: Sujicaa Sivakumaran
“More than 3,300 women are forced to sleep in an emergency shelter to escape domestic violence on any given day” (Statistics Canada, 2011)1. Violence against women is present in many forms including domestic violence, rape, and sexual harassment. Such behaviours can stem from the idea that women deserve less social power, which in turn causes men to show their power and control over women in demeaning methods. This is an issue that has been ongoing in society up to today – dating back to the second wave of feminism. Through further analysis, the importance of the issue of violence against women back in the second wave of feminism and which types of feminists were involved is determined. Whether or not violence against women prevails today and how this issue has shaped feminism will also be further explored.
Violence against women was an important issue to women during the second wave of feminism because during that time period, nothing was being done for abused women, which consequently left them with no escape from their situations. This issue caused both physical and emotional consequences for women as well as their children. Women would walk around the streets with black eyes, and not a single person would question what caused it because everyone was aware (Cho, Status Quo? The Unfinished Business of Feminism in Canada,2012)2, but chose to ignore it. By 1973, there were still no rape houses, women shelters or any safe place for abused women to go (Cho, Status Quo? The Unfinished Business of Feminism in Canada,2012)2 leaving them living in constant danger. A home is meant to be a place of comfort and safety, where one can stay to feel ‘at home’ and at ease. However, for many women during this time, their homes were their crime scenes – where they experienced violence towards them. The cases of abuse became more frequent, and the consequences more severe and changes were needed.
The physical and emotional consequences that women were put through signify why the issue was and is of importance. Women who fell victim to violence lived in constant fear to live their lives, doubting their every move. It could become hard to concentrate, eat, and any simple activities of daily living as women live in anxiety and hopelessness. This effect on the lives of women began to be noted, and it was determined that an answer needed to be found. “About nine in ten female victims of spousal violence (89%) indicated that the violence had some emotional impact on them.” (Statistics Canada, 2013)3. The trauma that abused women go through is likely to impact the rest of their lives and the way that they approach simple situations. Thus, it was vital to act as fast as possible in getting a woman of abuse out of her abusive situation before the impact becomes more intense.
The types of feminists that were involved in bringing violence against women to light were from the second wave of feminism. One of the aims during the second wave was to equalize both men and women’s roles. Radical feminists were one of the types of feminists to raise awareness of the oppression women faced. “Radical feminism is a philosophy emphasizing the patriarchal roots of inequality between men and women, or, more specifically, social dominance of women by men” (Lewis, 2015) 4. These feminists ultimate goal was to minimize the level of patriarchy that was going around society, and redefine how men treated them. Another type of feminists from the second wave who were involved in raising awareness of violence against women was liberal feminists. “The main view of liberal feminists are that all people are created equal by God and deserve equal rights.” (Schwamberger, 2008) 5. Whereas radical feminists wanted to locate the root cause of women’s oppression, liberal feminists goals were to create legislations that would remove barriers from women.
Violence against women has progressed significantly...
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