The Abbotsford News has an interesting article about Violence, particularly against women. It presents some scary statistics.

Here are just a few facts on violence against women culled from the provincial government’s Women’s Services website:

  • Male-against-female violence is the most common, representing 46.5 per cent of all violent crime in Canada.
  • Women are more at risk from a man they know than from a stranger; in 76.8 per cent of reported cases of violence, the women knew their assailant; in 28.9 per cent of the reports, the woman was assaulted by her spouse or ex-spouse.
  • Dating can be dangerous, especially for young women: Nearly 30 per cent of single women between the ages of 25 and 34 reported being assaulted by a date in a Violence Against Women Survey; and 35 per cent of girls between Grades 7 and 12 reported being sexually and or physically abused in a McCreary Adolescent Health Survey.

I do have a problem however, with this part of the article that seems to suggest that the way to stop violence if for women to be ‘safe’:

Women who take responsibility for their personal safety are taking charge of their lives and refusing the label of “victim.”

But there’s more to being safe than taking a martial arts course or keeping to well-lit streets after the dinner hour.

A safe woman is one who assesses risks and takes action to reduce them. A safe woman is someone who is armed with knowledge, not just bear spray.

While I understand that there are certain actions that a woman should take to help ensure her safety, I always have a problem when the responsibility is put solely on women to be ‘safe.’ As a woman, I am often very concerned about safety when walking around at night – I have the typical narrative running thought my head Is that guy following me. Am I alone on this street? What would I do if… Can I get to my bear spray, my cell phone?” I guess my point is that… really, it shouldn’t be so incumbent on me to stay safe! There’s a problem when women cannot walk alone at night without fear. More should be done to deal with the root of the problem, instead of putting the responsibility on women.

In part, it also suggests that anyone who is assaulted has done something ‘unsafe’. What was she wearing? Where was she walking? At what time? This obfuscates the real problem. This woman was assaulted and no matter what she was doing she shouldn’t have been. It was not in any way her fault. Thus, by trying to take away the word ‘victim’ how do we then ensure that we don’t then project blame onto women who really just aren’t as lucky as those of us who get through the night untouched.