Canadian Women's Foundation
Young women are especially pessimistic.
At college and university frosh weeks across Canada, conversations about consent and rape culture are increasingly being added. Some universities have worked with local women's organizations to create brilliant educational campaigns. But good examples of proactive conversations around consent are still rare and reveal a shockingly patchwork approach to a very serious issue with a very high price.
A new study from the Canadian Women's Foundation found that while almost all Canadians agree that sexual activity between partners should be consensual, two-thirds do not understand what consent means. If you can't tell if someone is consenting, ask: "Are you okay with this?" Encourage them to answer honestly. Decent people treat others with respect, especially when it comes to something as intimate as sexual activity. Sexual activity without consent is sexual assault. It's all pretty simple.
How is it that we live in a culture where speaking out is still taboo? A culture where so many blame victims for their own abuse. Where women are afraid to report or seek assistance because they worry that they will not be believed? But today and every day, I choose not to be heartbroken.
My favourite holiday list is my own personal checklist for charitable giving. Personally, I'd rather choose one organization that fits my values and priorities, and then confidently donate a good chunk of change over the long-term -- sort of like investing in a blue-chip stock. How to choose?
We've all seen the recent headlines with high profile allegations of domestic abuse. I can't count the number of times I've heard friends and family ask the same question of those stories: "why doesn't she just leave?" Too many people assume that if a woman is in an abusive relationship that she is making a choice to stay and that she has the power to end the abuse if she just leaves.
Every day, our daughters are bombarded with lies. Ask any parent what they want most for their kids. The fallout from these lies is all around us. We are raising a generation of girls who hate their bodies and therefore hate themselves. Chances are, they'll say "For them to be healthy and happy." A girl who hates her body is neither.
Last week my 12-year-old son and his friends used a term I hadn't heard before: "rape face." So we sat down to talk. He was emphatic that #rapeface wasn't actually about rape and rolled his eyes with a "mom, what's the big deal?" We need to be having these conversations with our kids and with our own peers about reclaiming words like rape if we want to start making a big deal about putting an end to rape culture.
According to a recent study, nearly one-quarter of adults aged 18 to 34 said women may provoke sexual assault by being drunk and 17 per cent believe women invite assaults by wearing short skirts. These antiquated attitudes are not held by the old-fashioned or aging demographic but by younger Canadians who. Why?