Stop violence against women and children in our community

Calgary, October 22, 2016 (GCDC) - Canadian statistics state that 1in 8 women is physically abused by her partner. That figure does not include the others types of abuse which many women experience.
Abuse means mistreatment of a person in 1 of 4 ways. The 4 basics types of abuse are: Psychological abuse (also called emotional, mental, or verbal abuse), sexual abuse, economic or financial abuse and physical abuse.
The extent of abuse women suffer in our society has recently come under the limelight. Horrific tales of women, shot to death, burned with acid and, in one heartbreaking case, eyes gouged out are incessantly being reported by the media. The current furor may seem like these incidents are unique occurrences in our society or examples of unrivaled violence.

In fact, nothing can be further from the truth. Systematic domestic abuse has been part of the experience of many in our society. Children are as much, if not more of, victims of such violence as women are. While it is encouraging that concerted efforts are being made to fight violence against women, it is discouraging that the cause of abused children is not being championed alongside.
Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of size, gender, or strength, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied. This is especially true when the abuse is psychological, rather than physical. Emotional abuse is often minimized, yet it can leave deep and lasting scars.
Noticing and acknowledging the warning signs and symptoms of domestic violence and abuse is the first step to ending it. No one should live in fear of the person they love. If you recognize yourself or someone you know in the following warning signs and descriptions of abuse, don’t hesitate to reach out. There is help available.
Violence against women, a prime area of concern as a health issue, is rooted in the social, economic and political inequality of women. Violence is a cycle and it is brought down to the next generation. Unless we get the help we need, it won’t go away. But at the same time, we must recognize those who have survived violence and stopped the cycle in their own lives.
In all regions of the world, women and girls are subjected to violence because of their gender. Despite the fact that different social, cultural and political contexts give rise to different forms of violence, its predominance and its models are remarkably constant, and cross national and socio-economic borders as well as cultural identities. Gender has a considerable impact on the form violence takes, the circumstances in which it occurs, the consequences, and the availability of legal, medical and social remedies. Because of violence, women are deprived – either totally or partially – of the enjoyment of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The most visible aspect of torture against women is sexualised torture. Of course, men can also be victims of sexual torture. However, rape, threat of rape and other forms of sexual violence are used more consistently against women. Victims of torture are already confronted with major obstacles when they file a complaint or request reparation. But when rape or other forms of sexual violence are the torture method, it is most likely that victims will not complain because of the shame and fear they feel. With the burden of proof, women can even be accused of adultery or fornication in some countries. Consequently, torture against women has often led – and continues to lead – to the negation of violence against them and the impunity of the torturers.
Moreover, the majority of violence against women occurs in the private sphere of the family or in the community. Women are the object, in their own homes, of beatings, rape, incest, and traditional practices such as honour killings, dowry related violence, genital mutilations, son preference and early marriages. Furthermore, women are also targets of violence in society (e.g., rape, sexual abuse, trafficking, forced prostitution, pornography, violence against migrant women). Finally, certain groups of women are particularly vulnerable to violence, such as those belonging to a minority, indigenous women, refugees and women living in situations of armed conflict.
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