All over the world, people face gender-based violence (GBV) and it can impact anyone regardless of socio-economic status, geographic location, race, religion, sexuality, or gender identity. It can happen in many settings – at work, school, in the family, on the street, in political life and more. The majority of GBV is committed against women and girls. For trans, gender non-conforming and non-binary individuals, GBV can be even more common. Boys and men also experience gender-based violence.
This type of violence is rooted in systemic gender inequality and abuse of power. GBV is endemic and even normalized and the impacts run deep.
“ I think the major problem with experiencing sexual violence so young – it’s a normalization process. Whereas if we experienced it for the first time at a later age, we might have a game plan. But girls who grow up who don’t even realize how wrong it is, it’s just like that’s the way the world works. It’s so normalized.”
“… so pervasive, so normalized, women are so disbelieved … and [then not] seeing it as … a big deal…”
— Edmonton: Safe City scoping study participants
A person’s persistent fear of gender based violence can affect the way they use or avoid public spaces and thereby greatly limits their participation in community and civic life.
To raise awareness about this important issue in Edmonton, we first had to understand what the public thought about GBV. In early 2017, Leger conducted a survey engaging 600 Edmontonians on what they understand about gender based and sexual violence.
We learned there is a need to clarify gender based violence – that it’s not just physical acts – but includes a full range of behaviours, including verbal and emotional harm.
We also learned 90 per cent of Edmontonians indicated they would like to get involved if they witness gender based violence, but less than half knew what to say or do.
This valuable insight gave us a good place to start and confirmed we had work to do!
The City of Edmonton’s Gender-Based Violence Prevention ‘Its Time’ initiative aims to end gender-based and sexual violence in Edmonton.
And working together is the only way we’ll end gender based violence.
So, where to from here?
A toolkit is also available for download, which includes helpful tips on things to do if you see gender based violence.
It’s time to NOTICE when someone is being teased or harassed.
It’s time to SPEAK up when you see aggressive or violent behaviour.
It’s time to ACT by asking how you can help.
Do you have a question? Want to reach out? Join the conversation!