Reframe 2022
New Canadians Centre
Sparq Retail
Photo by Mélodie Descoubes via Unsplash.

Ninety Seven Percent

Written by
Abbigail Hollett
and
and
December 9, 2021

Content Warning: This article discusses sexual violence.

Ninety Seven Percent
Photo by Mélodie Descoubes via Unsplash.

97%. 

November 25th marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Since 1981, when three political activists from the Dominican Republic were brutally murdered by the order of the country’s ruler, countries around the world gather together on the 25th of November to address and prevent worldwide violence against women (National Domestic Violence Awareness Month). 

Today, sexual violence is credited as one of the main forms of violence against women. From statistics gathered in 2016, one in two trans people, one in six men, and one in three women will experience sexual violence at some point in their lifetime (Government of Canada, S. C). 

One in Three.

That is an almost incomprehensible statistic. Just look at three women in your life. Your friends. Your mom, your sister, maybe even the girl you sit next to in class. One out of every three has or will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. Transgender individuals are also unbelievably targeted by sexual violence. This makes it harder for individuals who are transgender to both come out and feel comfortable and welcomed. Individuals often are hesitant to go to authorities or the hospital for fear of discrimination or additional violence (Sexual assault and harassment in Canada: The Facts). 

One in Two. 

What is sexual violence though? It is a phrase thrown around but not often understood. Sexual violence is a form of gender-based violence and “refers to any form of unwanted sexual contact” (Sexual assault and harassment in Canada: The Facts). Examples include non-consensual kissing, touching, rape, etc. Sexual violence is rooted in gender inequality and injustice. Anyone can experience this type of violence, no matter their gender, identity, or circumstances. But women, girls, transgender individuals and members of the LGBTQ+ community are at an exponentially higher risk of sexual violence. Indeed, a recent study of women in the UK showed that  devastatingly, 97% of women ages 18 to 24 have experienced sexual harassment in some form (Choudhury, 2021).  97%. 

Ninety-Seven Percent. 

This comes in addition to the perpetrators that are, overwhelmingly, 99%, male. And out of all the victims of sexual assault, 91% are female while 9% are male. The overwhelming numbers make it increasingly difficult to ignore the systemic oppression in our society. Sexual assault is  the only criminal offence that is not declining in Canada. Statistics Canada reported an almost  19% increase in Sexual Assaults in Ontario (Government of Canada, S. C). 

97%. 

These numbers are shockingly high and devastating. Sexual violence can significantly interfere  with the lives of those it has affected and can cause a number of physical and mental ailments. PTSD, depression, substance abuse and anxiety are just a few of the debilitating ways that rape  and other forms of sexual violence can affect individuals (Sexual assault and harassment in Canada: The Facts).

But what can we do? How can a single individual change something that seems so large and out of control? There are three key steps, as introduced by the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre representative Lucas Schaefer, that can help change gender-based and sexual violence. 

The first step is prevention, and from that, educating. Educating yourself and others about  gender-based and sexual violence is the first way to halt it before it begins. A large number of people don’t understand or know what consent is or what it means. Some people even see asking for consent as ‘weird’ or ‘not sexy,’ but doing so could save an individual. All individuals  should be educated on consent and why it is so critical. 

The second step is intervention. That is, recognizing and acting upon instances of gender-based  violence. Catcalling, harassing and making inappropriate comments about peoples’ bodies and  their sexuality are all forms of sexual harassment. Jokes about performing non-consensual acts  upon a friend or partner are not acceptable. Being able to recognize these instances and call out  the behaviour by individuals will hopefully prevent another from being hurt. 

The third and final step is support. Know how to support friends and family that are  experiencing sexual and gender-based violence in your community. Referring an individual to a local helpline or even just providing an open ear can be astronomical to someone struggling from an instance of sexual violence. 

“Once we frame ourselves within the issue and recognize our responsibilities, we can make  individual changes in our lives and larger collective ones as well.” — Lucas Schaefer, KSCA rep. 

When we talk about gender and sexual-based violence, there is an idea, perpetuated by societal  standards, that the victim is to blame for their assault. Essentially, “boys will be boys” on a devastating scale. Telling women and female identifying individuals and trans individuals that their clothing, looks, skin culture or beliefs are the reason they were targeted by sexual violence perpetrators is victim blaming and needs to end. We, as a society, as individuals, need to hold perpetrators accountable - not the victims. 

Labelling a victim as ‘asking for it,’ or some other diminishing phrase, people separate themselves from the victim, isolating them.  Additionally, victim blaming makes it incredibly harder for individuals, especially minorities who are already disproportionately underrepresented by the police and the media, to come forward and report their assault. If a survivor feels that they are going to burden people in their lives, or that society will blame them for their abuse, how are they expected to feel safe enough to come forward? 

It is not, nor will it ever be, the victim’s fault or responsibility to fix what is happening or has happened to them. The blame lies solely at the feet of the perpetrator and their actions. But by engaging in victim blaming attitudes, society allows the abuser to perpetrate abuse or gender-based violence, all the while avoiding any accountability or repercussions for their actions. 

97% of women have been sexually assaulted.

Let that sink in. 

Something needs to change. Because in reality, our futures cannot see that number rise any  further. How is it permissible in an age that praises itself for its inclusivity, a number like 97% of  girls and women can exist? 

Something needs to change. And it needs to start with the 99% of men that are the perpetrators of  sexual assaults and gender-based violence. 

Because 97% should not exist. 

What a devastating number. 

97%. 


Included at the end of this article are several self-help lines. Please do not hesitate to reach out.

Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre: 1 705 741 0260

Kids Help Phone: 1800 668 6868

Youth-space: Text 778 783 0177

Trans Lifeline: 1873306366

Hope for Wellness: 1855 242 3310

Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline: 1 833 900 1010

National Residential School Crisis Line: 1866 925 4419 

References:

Choudhury, N. (2021, September 30). Research finds that 97% of women in the UK have been sexually harassed. Open Access Government. Retrieved December 6, 2021, from https://www.openaccessgovernment.org/97-of-women-in-the-uk/105940/. 

Government of Canada, S. C. (2015, November 30). Criminal victimization in Canada, 2014. Government of Canada, Statistics Canada. Retrieved December 1, 2021, from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2015001/article/14241-eng.htm#a2.

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Family and Children's services of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville. (n.d.). Retrieved December 6, 2021, from https://fcsllg.ca/national-domestic-violence-awareness-month/. 

OCRCC Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres, & 29, J. (2019, July 29). Main navigation menu find support about OCRCC contact donate job board: Opportunities with Sexual Assault Centres across Ontario about sexual violence policy & political action OCRCC in the media press releases for the media draw the line. OCRCC. Retrieved December 1, 2021, from https://sexualassaultsupport.ca/statistics-canada-almost-19-year-over-year-increase-in-sexual-assaults-in-ontario/.

Sexual assault and harassment in Canada: The Facts. Canadian Women's Foundation. (2021, November 23). Retrieved December 1, 2021, from https://canadianwomen.org/the-facts/sexual-assault-harassment/.

Reframe 2022
New Canadians Centre
Sparq Retail
Written By
Sponsored
Reframe 2022
New Canadians Centre
Sparq Retail
Hmmmm...
It looks like there's nothing else from this author. Perhaps you, the reader, could
pick up the pen and begin where they left off.

Heading 1

Heading 2

Heading 3

Heading 4

Heading 5
Caption text

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

"Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system."
  • adfasdfa
  • asdfasdfasd
  • asfdasdf
  • asdfasdf

Heading 1

Heading 2

Heading 3

Heading 4

Heading 5
Caption text

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

"Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system."
  • adfasdfa
  • asdfasdfasd
  • asfdasdf
  • asdfasdf