In recognition of International Women's Day, UTP asked award-winning author Walter S. DeKeseredy to contribute the following words on his recent book, Violence Against Women: Myths, Facts, Controversies.
The 100th anniversary of International Women's Day is a time for celebration. Still, as we reflect on our sisters' many past and present achievements, we must never forget that violence against women continues to be a widespread social problem. For example, at least 60 women are killed each year in Canada by their current or former male partners and every six days a woman in this country dies from domestic violence. Each year, nearly 25 percent of Canadian female post-secondary school students experience some type of sexual assault and at least 11 percent of women in marital/cohabiting relationships are physically assaulted by their male partners. Sadly, while male-to-female violence is endemic, resources aimed at reducing this harm are consistently being cut. Note, too, that an enormous audience exists for people who minimize the alarming rates of woman abuse in private and public places and who erroneously assert that women are as violent as men.
My new book, Violence Against Women: Myths, Facts, Controversies, directly responds to claims that violence against women is a relatively minor problem and that intimate violence is gender-neutral. It also challenges the assertion that most men who abuse their current or former female partners are "sick" or mentally ill. If only a handful of men in Canada hit, beat, raped, and killed women, it would be easy to accept non-sociological accounts of their behaviour. However, as I point out, given that male-to-female violence is deeply entrenched in our society, it is essential to examine the broader structural, cultural, and political forces that allow for so many women to be victimized. Indeed, Canada would be much healthier if all of its citizens acknowledged that violence against women is a serious problem, and one that affects us all.