Re: Violence against women
To the Editor:
Are you tired of political bickering on campus? Bothered by a narrow range of issues presented? Don't see how they affect you directly? Think there are more important issues to deal with? Well, you are probably right. How about the fact that every 17 minutes a sexual assault is committed in Canada. Ninety-eight per cent of the time these assaults are committed by men.
Violence against women is an issue which concerns all of us. It occurs in every region of Canada, among the rich, poor and middle class and among those of every nationality, religion and race. It is a problem for us all. The victims are our mothers, sisters, girlfriends, colleagues and friends. Chances are you know a woman who has been a victim of violence. Chances are more likely that you know a woman who has been a victim of violence and has not said a word about it. In fact, if we take the accepted statistic that one in four women will be assaulted in their lifetime and the fact Western has approximately 13,000 female students this year, then 3,250 Western students will be assaulted in their life. Unfortunately, 3,250 victims makes up the biggest "club" on campus.
Starting to feel angered yet?
How about this then. The problem does not stop at just simple physical violence. There are forms of emotional violence from sexist joking, to sexual harassment at work, to other domineering forms of behaviour which the majority of women can claim to be victims.
Before I claim that our society is involved in gender genocide, let me assure you that there is hope.
This Dec. 6 marks the eighth anniversary of the Montreal massacre and kicks off the annual White Ribbon Campaign. The campaign is the largest of its kind in the world. The White Ribbon Campaign is meant to raise awareness of the issue of male violence against women. I am inviting every male on campus to explore this important issue and wear a white ribbon in the weeks leading up to Dec. 6. By wearing a white ribbon, males are taking a personal pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.
In the next two weeks, you'll probably come across a display and people handing out white ribbons. Please take the time to come over, get a white ribbon, make a donation (to local women shelters) and inform yourself.