The April 9 Port Moody council meeting saw four residents — women all — stand up at public input to talk about the National Prevention of Violence Against Women Week, which was April 14 to 20.
Some shocking statistics were provided that I feel need to be broadcast again and again:
• 50% of women in Canada have experienced sexual or physical violence.
• More than half the women in B.C. have experienced sexual or physical violence since the age of 16 — that’s more than one million women in our province alone.
(Are you standing in a mixed group right now? Look around you. This statistic says that at least half the girls and women you see right now, are standing beside you right now, are talking to right now have experienced sexual or physical violence. Let’s take it even closer to home. In your extended family, how many girls and women are there — sisters, mother, grandmothers, aunts, cousins? Let’s say 20. Which 10 of those girls and women you love have experienced sexual or physical violence in their life? Don’t know?)
• Every year in B.C., there are more than 60,000 sexual or physical assaults against women, almost all of them committed by men.
• One in three women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
Here is an answer to the “Don’t know?” question: Only 12% of sexual assaults against girls and women are reported to the police.
There are many things we, as society, can do to change this narrative. One of them is just this: I see you. I believe you. I am here to support you.
Please know help is available to any victim of violence. If you are in an immediate emergency, call 911. If you are looking for help and assistance VictimLinkBC (1-800-563-0808) can connect to all available local resources.
Laura Dick, Port Moody