“The word is spreading: violence against women and girls has no place in any society, and impunity for perpetrators must no longer be tolerated.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Message for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, 25 November
Stress and Harassment
How sad and awful to think that around the world, women are being abused just because they are women. Violence against women can take many forms – physical, sexual, psychological and economic. Many of us take for granted the freedoms that we have in our life. The freedom to hold a job, the freedom to raise a family, the freedom to vote and the freedom to speak up. This is not the case for all women.
The United Nations states that up to 70 per cent of women will experience violence in their lifetime. This is not something that is just happening on the other side of the world. It is happening in our own backyards. Little girls who are hunted by predators through the internet, while walking home and unfortunately even in our hockey arenas with parents close by. We each know of a neighbour who we suspect is being emotionally abused by their spouse, who feels trapped and can see no way out.
These abusers are well hidden amongst us. They are not wearing the mask of a monster. They look like everyone else in the crowd. But they are feeling out of control and in a desperate effort to grab control, they lash out and abuse those around them.
Beverly’s Hot Tips For Building Resilience and Celebrating International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women:
This is an unspoken issue for many reasons. We don’t want to get involved, we don’t want to rock the boat, we don’t want to become a victim ourself, we are scared, we are unsure, we don’t want to bud in, we feel helpless….but there comes a time when you may be at a cross-roads, so….
- Be aware – Look for the signs that someone around you is being abused.
- Be a support – Talk about healthy relationships – provide a good example. Listen if someone wants to talk. Know what resources are available in your community.
- If you are being abused, know that it doesn’t have to be this way – Abuse, no matter the form that it takes, is unacceptable. You can not have possibly done anything to deserve being treated in an abusive way. It is not normal. And you deserve better.
- Reach out for help – If you are being abused, talk to someone. A friend or a community advisor may help to give you the information and perspective that you need.
If you are raising children, help them to deal with their feelings in a responsible and respectful way. Click to tweet
Make Them Aware
Make them aware that abuse is not acceptable and let them know where they can turn for help if they ever find themselves in a difficult situation. This is not just a one-time lesson, it is addressed over and over again, in the way that siblings treat each other, in the relationships that they develop at school, in the partners they pick to date, in the way that they end relationships, and how they determine who their life partner may be.
My hope is that one day, there will be no need to celebrate this day. It will be foreign and unthinkable by all in our society.
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!