Sunday, 6 December 2009

Violence Against Women- 20th anniversary of a massacre

On this day, the 20th anniversary of the 14 women murdered in École Polytechnique massacre in Quebec. The December 6th story is a sad one.

Hatred of feminists was a new issue 20 years ago. - Women's Rights - not so.  Women have fought so hard for equality and the right to attend university, to vote (1920 in the US; 1927 in Canada), to be declared 'persons' . 

In 1989, a male anti-feminist murdered 14 female engineering students. Targeting women, it was the first time that such violence was directed at women. He entered a classroom and told the men to leave. His rant, obviously a seriously disturbed man, who blamed women for his issues. This man was rejected by the army for irrational behaviour. He screamed out at the victims that he hated feminists, they "ruined his life", he wrote in his suicide letter. Nathalie Provost survived, and graduated engineering. She speaks out.

Christina Long, May 21, 2002, pictured above, right, was murdered by a man she met on the Internet. The Natalia Novak murder, is another recent story, or the beloved Toronto real estate agent, Susan Ryan, murdered by her former Toronto police officer husband. They need to have their stories told. Most are murdered by men whom they know, not strangers, although not all.  You can read my Internet Safety PPT for teachers and parents. Protect your children.

In 2008, writes the Globe & Mail,

  • 41 % of female victims were murdered by rifles and shotguns
  • 5.8% were murdered with handguns.
There is much coverage accorded our precious soldiers who have died in battle. Little about these abused women, and often their children, who die at the hands of their former partners, all angry men. Restraining orders are not widely upheld.

Fleeing abuse is a difficult prospect. See my previous posts: Muskoka Housing Statistics and The myths of Muskoka Housing.

  • Adequate, affordable and accessible housing is a safety issue… it is part of protecting women from the cycle of violence. (YWCA 2009) 
  • In the 12 months between April 1, 2007 and March 31, 2008 – 101, 000 women and children – entered shelters in Canada – 75% were fleeing abuse.
Brian Vallée writes in War On Women, of domestic assaults and inappropriate convictions, with woman who were seldom believed, or changed from victims to those being interrogated by defense attornies.

The statistics often are not reflected in media coverage. The Highway of Heroes is well-lauded. Canadians publicly mourn 133 soldiers dying in Afghanistan, yet...
Between 2000 and 2006
  • The US lost 8000 women to domestic violence. 
  • Canada lost 101 soldiers, and 500 women to domestic violence.
  • More than half of Canadian women have been victims of at least one act of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16 (Status of Women -Canada)
  • Every year, about 25 women are killed by their intimate partners in Ontario.
  • Almost 40% of women assaulted by spouses said their children witnessed the event, which can lead to PTSD.
  • In sexual assault cases 80% know their abusers and 90% of incidents take place at home.
I leave you with hope. Despite such horrific inquests, inadequate restraining orders, and continued stories of abuse, the May/Iles Inquest 1998, was one that laid down the rules for identification of protocol, mandatory charge policies, specialized courses for OPP, and other improvements to this system:
My article published in 1992, under my married name:
Martin, J. (1992). The White Ribbon Campaign, Ontario Public School Teachers' Federation Newsletter, December 1992.


    rob said...

    One thing I notice was how the news media always said that Marc Lapine complained how 'women were taking men's jobs' and it makes people wonder what a strange world it would be if women couldn't enter the workforce. As a society we'd only ever get half as much done, and the office xmas parties would be pretty boring. I put this MyMuskoka blog post 20th Anniversary of a Massacre on Digg so your friends can thumb it up.

    Lucy said...

    As someone who was in a bad situation once, I know the numbers are true. Thanks for posting this... It can't be done enough!

    Crafty Green Poet said...

    a very sobering post, thanks for sharing...