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Roots of Woman Abuse

So what’s really behind woman abuse?  Why does it even exist? There’s no doubt that abuse and sexual violence are all about power and control.  But why has it become such a problematic social issue?  Why the prevalence?  Why have more than 50% of Canadian women experienced it and why are thousands of children and youth exposed to it every year?

Ask yourself....

  • Is it the prevalence of violence in movies, video games, and on television?
  • Is it the way in which we glorify violence in these same mediums?
  • Is it caused by stereotypes of masculinity that promote having power and control over others?
  • Is it that the punishments aren’t harsh enough or that they don’t suit the crime?
  • Is it because children who grow up in violent homes are at greater risk of becoming abusers themselves if they don’t receive support and counselling?
  • Is it that our cultural beliefs, values, and norms continue to reinforce inequalities between men and women?
  • Is it because there is too much silence and not enough understanding?
  • Do we teach our girls to place the needs of others before their own?
  • Does the fault lay with our beloved fairytale princess stories that encourage our girls to wait for that handsome prince, just wait to be chosen, to be swept away to live happily ever after without a second thought about his inner qualities?  Isn’t it time our fairytale princess scoured the masses for her ideal prince?
  • Should we reconsider our traditional marriage vows?  We encourage new brides to… have and behold from this day on, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; until death do us part. Rather than…to have and behold from this day on, for as long as we show respect, trust and support; treat each other as equals, with shared responsibility; demonstrate honesty and accountability, negotiation and fairness; give love and affection; and for as long as we bring no harm upon each other’s mind or body.

Is this too much to ask?

These are just some thoughts to mull over.  Frankly, we may never know how deeply the roots of woman abuse go.  We may never know from which direction they came.

These are just some questions.  Because there are no easy answers.

Assessing Violence Against women:  A Statistical Profile, Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for theStatus of Women, 2002.

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