Violence against women prevalent

This Dec. 6, wear a white ribbon and stand up for innocent victims

Mallory Adams, ArtSci ’08
Mallory Adams, ArtSci ’08

Eighteen years have passed since the Montreal massacre in which 14 women were killed by an anti-feminist shooter at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. Since this tragic event, Dec. 6 has become a memorial day for violence against women.

It has become commonplace to think that violence against women has stopped or diminished and that feminists are overreacting to these issues. Violence against women still occurs at alarming rates and it happens at Queen’s University. During Frosh Week alone two sexual assaults were reported. Most sexual assaults aren’t reported in our society. This shows that violence against women is still prevalent, and we need to examine why this is and try to change it. Though tougher legislation against violence has been enacted and social views around the issue have been greatly improved, the high rates of violence still being reported in our society suggest violence against women is still a major problem that needs significant attention. This isn’t just a women’s issue, it’s also a human rights issue. Violence shouldn’t be perpetrated against anyone, for any reason.

Let’s take a second to reflect on this week’s celebrations in Canada: the Grey Cup and the great game of football. It’s not a celebration for everyone in society. Grey Cup weekend is the single greatest weekend for shelter calls for violence against women in Canada. There’s a correlation between images of masculinity and violence and this is still so ingrained in our society that violence in this context is perceived by some as normal and acceptable. What happened in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989 wasn’t normal or acceptable. What happens every day surrounding violence isn’t normal or acceptable, and we need to first realize this, then demand change. We need tougher laws that properly punish violence against women so that it doesn’t continue to occur. Societal views need to change so they don’t reinforce power dynamics and violent masculinity.

We need positive change and an elimination of violence, particularly against women. The way to start this process is to wear a white ribbon—the kick-off to the Gender and Women’s Issue Committee ‘Violence against Women’ campaign was Sunday, Nov. 25—and come to the memorial in Wallace Hall at 3 p.m. on Dec. 6. Here, we will remember the victims of violence, and reflect on how society allows this to happen, then become involved in our University community and affect positive change. This can be as simple as not letting friends make sexist jokes, or as complex as volunteering at a shelter. Even thinking about these issues is a positive step, and I encourage you to do so.

Violence occurs, it’s a real issue and it’s a matter of life and death. If you would like more information about where to get help or someone to talk to there are several resources in Kingston such as: Interval House, which can be reached online at also have a crisis line—

613-546-1777. This service is a safe and confidential shelter for women and their children who are victims of violence. The Sexual Assault Centre Kingston has a crisis line for anyone who needs to talk to someone regarding issues of sexual assault: 613-545-0762 or 1-877-240-0762. This service is open to anyone over the age of 16 of any gender identity. These services are available because violence is still an issue, and the people who are suffering or have suffered violence aren’t alone.

The Gender and Women’s Issues Committee encourages everyone to wear a white ribbon and come to Wallace Hall on Dec. 6 at 3:00 p.m. to stand up for change. Through this small act of wearing a white ribbon we can unite to stop violence against women for good.

Mallory Adams is a member of the AMS Gender and Women’s Issues Committee at Queen’s.

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