November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. In our homes, on our streets, and even in our schools, girls and women are more likely than their male counterparts to find themselves the targets of violence. Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.1 Furthermore, each year 362 000 children witness incidents of domestic violence.2
As educators, we have the unique opportunity help end violence against women. Whether it is by teaching our students how to resolve conflicts through nonviolent means, addressing incidents of violence head-on, or by empowering our girls to reach their full potential while teaching all our students to stand together as allies, teachers play an important role.
Consider exploring some of these resources as part of your planning. The first is a resource for educators that addresses sexual violence in a variety of age appropriate ways. The second offers examples of women leaders who are working for social change. And finally, the third is a fact sheet about violence against women in Canada.
1The Violence Against Women Survey, Statistics Canada, 1993. Although more up-to-date data would be preferable, no recent Statistics Canada survey has asked women about their lifetime experience of violence. Available: http://www23.statcan.gc.ca/imdb/p2SV.pl?Function=getSurvey&SDDS=3896&Item_Id=1712.
2 Behind Closed Doors: The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children, Joint report by UNICEF, The Body Shop International, and the Secretariat for the United Nations Secretary-General’s Study on Violence Against Children, 2006, p. Available: http://www.unicef.org/protection/files/BehindClosedDoors.pdf