Monday 10 November 2008

Violence against women

We woke to a soft, falling snow. We have snow, yes we do! The cats are so upset. They walk out on the deck, shake their back right paws, then their back left paws.
The lake is 400m (437 yd) across and I cannot see it for the blizzard. There is a soft dusting of white on the trees - as if Mother Nature painted the tips of the dark green pine trees. Then I read my on-line news as is my wont.

Today, there is another news report. What I think we can conclude is that these husbands, lovers and boyfriends are not obviously sick and violent to others. At least, that is what Mr. Vallée concludes. The violence is specific and targets the women, who have little defense. The men go on-line and in chat rooms share information about how not to leave marks. They work at not revealing their anger except in the intimate relationships in their lives. They are angry with life, their failures, their jobs, or lack thereof, and take it out on defenseless women who lack the wherewithal to defend themselves.
Another statistic: a woman is dead, her husband charged with murder.

I read the book, The War on Women, by Brian Vallée. A powerful story of two women who fought their abusive husbands The statistics he cites are appalling. Between 2000 to 2006, he tells us that 4,588 American soldiers were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another 101 Canadian soldiers have been killed.

What is shocking is that in this same 7-year period, 8,000 women were shot, stabbed, strangled, or beaten to death by the men in their lives. This statistic holds true for those wounded. The cost, in terms of the delivery of Primary and Mental Heath Care for these wounded women, as well as lost productivity, is in the billions.

As with bullying, an issue I have researched much, the solution is to control the access to tools weapons (computers, knives, guns) but, more importantly, bystanders must be vigilant and speak out on the part of those who are affected by bullying, violence and unfair treatment. For my part, I am committed to participating in the Muskoka Victim Services Program. An organization that seeks to support victims, and help them to deal with immediate crises. This is a non-profit agency, with government support, and many volunteers who work with front line response teams to provide a shoulder in a traumatic incident. We have come a long way since we blamed women for their rapes and for being victims. I look forward to working with those who make a difference in women's lives.

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