Some people -- men and women alike -- have difficulty hearing this statement. But ask yourself: If you are afraid to go into a park at night, who is it you fear? If you worry when your teenage daughter goes jogging alone at dawn, who worries you?
Once upon a time, the victims of male violence in Canadian cities were more likely to be other men. No longer.
This year, one in 10 women will be physically assaulted by their husband or boyfriend. One in four girls and one in eight boys will be sexually assaulted by someone they know. Ten per cent of all Canadian women will be _regularly_ battered by the men with whom they live.
In Canada, an act of violence occurs against women every six minutes. Seventy-five per cent of all assaults occur in the home. Ninety per cent of working women will be sexually harassed on the job. In the Montreal area _last month alone_, 10 women and six of their children were killed.
Let us begin by acknowledging this problem.
Then, let's provide women and children with the resources to protect themselves, to escape violent situations and gain just recourse when wrong has been done.
Let governments commit more resources to the provision of shelters, transition houses, child-care options and affordable family counselling.
Let educators help people to understand and cope with collapsing role models and rapidly evolving family structures. Let us teach those in the legal system the realities of domestic violence.
Let employers do their bit as well. They can take a public stand -- like Shoppers Drug Mart, which has just launched a $200,000 Blow the Whistle on Violence campaign -- or, short of that, they can provide effective sanctions against sexual harassment, and company-sponsored assistance for families in distress.
Together, we must raise the profile of this issue, empower the weak and protect the vulnerable.