The world is not a friendly place for women, whether it’s at home or at work. According to The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, over 20,000 phone calls are placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide on a daily basis. Furthermore, nearly 75% of employed women experience violence or assault in the workplace. Over 29,000 cases of rape or sexual assault happen in the workplace yearly, and homicide is the 2nd leading cause of death on the job for women. This is not OK.
Last week I learned that Canadians celebrate National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, or White Ribbon Day, on December 6 each year. Canadians use this day as a way to speak out against domestic violence. The day also serves as an annual reminder of the École Polytechnique massacre of 1989. Armed student Marc Lépine murdered fourteen innocent women and claimed it was a “fight against feminism.”
Although this massacre has become a silent part of history, Twitter brought life to #December6 last week. People post both in remembrance and as activists.
Both are equally important.
29 years ago, I was a 14 year old young woman. I vividly remember this horrific act and tried to understand why — Just because they are girls. Imagine what these woman could have been, done, created had they not been murdered by a misogynist. #December6 pic.twitter.com/8ux2VSOvsg
— OfKris (@sidekickgirl) December 6, 2018
On the National Day of Remembrance & Action on Violence Against Women, NWAC calls for action and accountability to address the ongoing violence our women and girls face. We need healing and resiliency in order to end this cycle of violence. #EndVAW #VAW #December6 pic.twitter.com/nDCzrxCPkj
— NWAC (@NWAC_CA) December 6, 2018
Here’s the thing about abuse and violence against women: it’s not always visible.
Sometimes there are no bruises or scars; the men don’t always leave marks visible to the naked eye. Often, the emotional scars run much deeper and last longer than any mark left by a hand or weapon.
Attacks don’t always require physical force, either. Mind games, verbal assault, and emotional abuse are frequent tools manipulators use against their prey. Words can hurt just as much as a fist; psychological attacks feel just as awful as physical ones to the victim.
It doesn’t matter where or why it happens… domestic violence is never OK.
What can we do to make the world in which we live a safer place today?
1. For starters, speaking openly (especially through social media) about the prevalence of domestic violence will help.
This #December6, I am sharing some of my work. My first post on #CindyGladue, which caused national protests and eventually an appeal. It was heard at Canada’s highest court in October ‘18. #Sexwork-ers entirely erased. Our bodies are not terra nullius https://t.co/x9TdmyCc2c
— Naomi Sayers (@kwetoday) December 6, 2018
Coming out of hiatus for a brief second to send every feminist a warm hug on this tough day.
— Julie S. Lalonde (@JulieSLalonde) December 6, 2018
2. Also, we need to get more men on board. Men can’t sit on the sidelines and remain silent if we want to see meaningful change.
11/ As a witness to violence my Mom faced, a witness to my Father’s violence, shame and silence… I work towards helping men inspire other men to become part of the solution. Our accountability and action is needed more than ever. #December6 🙏🏽💜
— jeff perera (@jeffperera) December 6, 2018
3. Finally, we need to try actually learning from history and realizing that there are still miles to go towards solving domestic violence.
In 1989, 14 women were killed for being women. Nearly 30 years later misogyny still kills women every day, from partner violence to men who kill women for rejecting their advances. Women of colour and women with disabilities face significantly higher rates of violence. #December6
— Eternity Martis (@eternitymartis) December 6, 2018
— HuffPost Canada (@HuffPostCanada) December 6, 2018
Regardless of where you live or your personal history, please take a stand today and every day towards ending domestic violence. Do it for women like me who may be living in constant fear, do it for future generations like my daughters (and yours), but mostly, do it for yourself. You don’t have to be a feminist to care about human rights. You just need to have a caring heart. All it takes is one person to tip the scales; be the light.
Nobody should ever live in fear; nobody deserves to experience violence from those they trust and love.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, help is out there. Please visit https://www.thehotline.org/ or call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).