Thursday, February 22, 2018

Ability’s Muse: Men’s discussion needed on violence against women

March 18, 2015 by Andy Chen, Camosun College Students with dis(A)bilities Collective

Ability’s Muse is the Camosun College Students with (dis)Abilities column (graphic provided).

Ability’s Muse is the Camosun College Students with (dis)Abilities column (graphic provided).

Why should men be talking about men’s violence toward women? Because, men hearing stories of women suffering domestic violence doesn’t actually change the lived-in reality that women face.

In fact, it’s a process of re-victimization having to share a story of abuse or violence, often knowing that the perpetrators are likely to be never charged and that, statistically, based on your intersection (i.e. being indigenous and a woman) your likelihood of dying violently from domestic and/or sexualized violence is increased significantly.

I heard two poignant stories this week from female colleagues. One chose the venue of the spoken word to tell her audience about her tale of domestic violence that began all the way from her birth up until a recent partner. The other, after years of being mostly acquaintances, decided to share something deeply personal with me about her past.

In each case, I was neither able nor ready to respond in a real, effective way that mattered. This is largely in part because both never really trusted men who are, by and large, reckless with other women’s bodies, let alone their hearts. And really, why should they?

According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16. In addition, 66 percent of female victims of sexual assault are under the age of 24.

So, men, if you care about the women in your life, this is the discussion to be had.

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