One woman or girl is killed every other day in Canada.
This is not a new fact nor does it represent a new trend. For 40 years, this fact has varied little; similarly, rates of other forms of violence against women and girls have remained persistently stable. Violence is a product of our culture. So, too, are our responses to violence when it occurs. Therefore, systemic and cultural transformation is required. This is a daunting task, but can be achieved with small steps. We can begin by changing the public discourse around the killing of women and girls by calling it femicide. We can identify and challenge problematic beliefs, attitudes and stereotypes that influence behaviours that lead to male violence against women and girls. We can learn how to better respond to these forms of violence when they occur.
The mass killings in Toronto this spring by accused Alek Minassian and his reported involvement in a misogynistic online movement provides a concrete and horrifyingly real example of the way misogynistic hate can kill both women and men. The last time we focused on misogynistic hate with such vigour followed the 1989 mass femicide at École Polytechnique at the Université of Montréal.
We need to recognize that terrorism comes in many forms and perhaps the most dangerous terrorists are not those recognized and prioritized as such by our government. Why does a large group of women or girls need to be killed to attract public attention? Most women and girls who are killed every other day in this country were the sole victims of their killers, which is perhaps the reason their deaths received little or sustained attention. Our biggest national threat may not be external, but internal, resting on ideologies that are equally damaging — misogyny and male entitlement. Intimate or domestic (household, not country) terrorism is the most prevalent type of terrorism in our country, experienced primarily by women, and often their children, at the hands of male partners.
In light of the #MeToo movement and other initiatives that have gained momentum and underscore the daily reality of the lives of girls and women, not only in Canada, but worldwide, how can we shine light on this issue of violence against women and girls?
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Free Yourself Global
Our global domestic violence campaign Free Yourself Global is shining the light on this issue in a unique way. It’s the first interactive global domestic violence campaign incorporating three core elements:
- In line with TMC’s unique impact and media model, Free Yourslef Global brings together speacialists in the field of domestic abuse, namely victim support, policy makers, academics and law enforcement creating and incredible impact project aimed at reducing the prevalence of domestic homicide gloablly. A convergent media project including the production of media assets such as social media campaigns, short films connected to education curriculums, feature length films, photo book, television series and music benefit concerts hosted by 10 cities around the world, turn this project into a for-profit venture, enabling financial continuity for the impact project.
- Free Yourself Global is also the largest story curating exercise of its kind: recording of stories from recovered abusers, victims and specialists working in the field including NGO’s, psychologists, law enforcers and policy makers to name a few
- Part of the development process includes production of an interactive digital platform where using cognitive technology to extract data from primary research, we can assess by geo-location the strengths and weaknesses in each region, mapped against a best practice roadmap. This will assist policy makers and support services world-wide to improve both preventative and services.