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Gender-Based Violence

This guide was developed by Centennial Libraries, the Queering Community Social Club, and the Centre for Global Citizenship, Education, and Inclusion in recognition of 16 Days of Action Against Gender-Based Violence.

What is gender-based violence?

The Canadian Women's Foundation describes gender-based violence as: "the types of abuse that women, girls, and Two Spirit, trans and non-binary people are at highest risk of experiencing. It can take physical and emotional forms, such as: name-calling, hitting, pushing, blocking, stalking/criminal harassment, rape, sexual assault, control, and manipulation. Many forms of this abuse are against the law. It can happen between people in romantic relationships. It can happen in families, at work, and between friends and acquaintances and strangers. It often occurs in private places between people who know each other."

In 2014, StatsCan reported that: "Sexual assault, at 22 incidents per 1,000 people, was the only crime for which the victimization rate remained relatively stable over the past decade." While other violent crimes have been declining over the last 20 years, rates of gender-based violence remain unchanged.

Gender-Based Violence and Intersectionality

2SLGBTQIA+ people

A recent report from Statistics Canada (2018) highlighted what many 2SLGBTQIA+ people have known to be true, that they are "more likely to report being violently victimized in their lifetime and to have experienced inappropriate behaviours in public and online than non-sexual minority Canadians." Further, "recent crowdsource survey found that gender-diverse participants (that is, participants who did not report their gender as exclusively female or male) were almost 3 times more likely than male participants to report that they had experienced discrimination during the pandemic.

Although we know that queer folks experience gender-based violence from within and outside the community, educational resources and service providers often only address cisgender, heterosexual women. Additionally, representations of gender-based violence in relationships predominately consist of cisgender, heterosexual couples. This means 2SLGTBQIA+ individuals who experience harm, often don't have the tools they need to seek out help, and the resources that do exist to support survivors of GBV aren't always inclusive of their unique identities. Queer experiences are often left out of the conversation surrounding GBV which leaves community members vulnerable to harm and without adequate support in society. 

Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people

As discussed above, research has shown that people with intersecting identities experience higher rates of gender-based violence. In Canada, about six in ten Indigenous women have experienced some form of IPV in their lifetime (Statistics Canada), and 4 in 10 have experienced either physical or sexual abuse by an intimate partner in their lifetime - compared to 25% non-Indigenous women (Statistics Canada). These statistically significant findings demonstrate how systemic and attitudinal barriers prevent and discourage Indigenous women from seeking help.

In 2019 the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) published it's Final Report, Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Their findings demonstrate that "persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses are the root cause behind Canada’s staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people" (MMIWG). Interviews conducted with thousands of survivors of gender-based violence showed that interpersonal violence in the lives of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQIA+ people is largely denied and/or normalized in Canada. 

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