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Standing up to abuse, violence against women

Jalisa Massiah
NewsReporter

Women at Humber College have listened and now say they want their voices heard.

Violence against their gender must stop.

“We as people need to be more engaged when we see these things occurring,” said Kathy Provost, accessibility coordinator at Humber’s Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Diversity.

She said recent media coverage of battered and murdered woman is making more people aware of violence against woman.

Provost was among about 40 people who listened to speaker Sylvia Maracle, director of Legal Aid Ontario, in North campus’ Student Centre Thursday at noon, sponsored by the Centre for Human Rights.

“Women are still fearful of what may happen to them if they come forward because there still isn’t enough community support or law enforcement support,” said Provost.

She said any woman enduring abuse should get help so they can improve their lives and not endanger them.

According to YWCA Canada, each year more than 100,000 women and children in this country are driven out of their homes into shelters due to violence and abuse.

YWCA says Canada as a society spends more than $4 billion each year on violence against women.

Women are fighting back.

Maracle said she wonders why young women cannot go on a bus without being harassed. Society is obligated to do something as women are being battered and murdered every day, she said.

In a 2011 Statistics Canada study, the most recent released, police reported about 173,600 women aged 15 years and older were victims of violence. Police reported that in 83 per cent of the cases, men were responsible for the violence.

Police data also showed Aboriginal women were “disproportionally” represented in murder and violence statistics, Statistics Canada stated.

As of November 2013, there are 1,181 unsolved cases of either missing or murdered Aboriginal girls and women between 1980 and 2012, according to a 2013 RCMP report on missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

Aboriginal women represent about 16.3 per cent of murdered women, but only make up 4.3 per cent of Canada’s population.

There are hotlines and support groups that can help victimized women.

“(While) we generate ideas on how to cope with their situation, the person is their own expert,” said Amanda Manbruzzato, a volunteer at a crisis hotline in the Halton Region.

She said the most common reason councilors hear from victims as to why they can’t leave an abusive environment is because the perpetrator is the sole provider.

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