Author: Anqi Shen
Anqi Shen was a former writer/videographer at the Canadian Women's Foundation. She is passionate about multimedia storytelling, research and policy analysis, and education. She has written and produced content for national news organizations and nonprofits.
When a woman is sexually assaulted, the impact on her life can last for years, and the trauma can affect her education, employment, and long-term well-being. Society pays, too. In Canada, the annual costs of sexual assault and related offences for the criminal justice system, social services, and employers add up to an estimated $200 million, according to the Department of Justice.
When you include the medical costs, lost productivity, and pain and suffering of victims, the cost skyrockets to $4.8 billion. The problem is huge. In a 2009 Statistics Canada survey, 472,000 people in Canada reported they had been sexually assaulted. Supports such as counselling and legal advice help survivors re-establish a sense of safety and control over their lives, and reduce the long-term collective costs.
Before they helped the Canadian Women’s Foundation get off the ground, they were politicians, lawyers, and women’s rights advocates. Aside from their contributions to this organization, our eight founding mothers have also left their mark on Canadian history in various ways. Among our founders are the first black woman to be elected to a provincial legislature, Canada’s first openly gay senator, and founding members of some of the country’s most well-known institutions.
For Women’s History Month, we look back to the 1980s to understand how and why these women from different backgrounds came together to start a national charity for women and girls.
Someone helps you with your homework or offers to give you a ride home. You accept. You thank them. You’re texting back and forth, maybe flirting, maybe sending photos of yourself, and you get the sense that they want more. Even though you only wanted the homework help, or the ride, or the sexting, the person feels entitled to your body. And you’re not sure whether they might be right.
These scenarios are not uncommon among youth and young adults. But the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, in Halifax, wants you to know: “No one is entitled to your body—you don’t owe anyone.”
If someone starts spreading rumours about your child online, you may be the last to hear about it. Children and teens don’t necessarily recognize aggressive online behaviours as ‘bullying’ and for several reasons, they’re not keen to tell adults about it.
A 2012 national study found that about 19 percent of youth in grades 6 to 10 said they’ve been cyberbullied. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, according to Dr. Wendy Craig, who co-authored the study.
In the survey, children were asked about behaviours including name-calling, rumour-spreading, sending negative pictures, and saying mean things online. Their responses were startling.