This Dec. 6 marks 30 years since 14 women were killed at École Polytechnique.
In 1989, the massacre propelled the issue of violence against women to the fore of the Canadian conscious, putting women’s rights and feminism under the microscope. Yet, 30 years later, to be a woman in Canada still means living with risk — to live knowing that, on average, a woman is killed every other day, that once a week a woman is murdered by her partner and that one in three women will experience some form of sexual violence over the course of their lives.
Education is one of the most powerful tools to help combat gender-based violence, and yet, most Canadian schools don’t teach baseline topics like what consent is, what constitutes a healthy relationship or even the names of intimate body parts.
“The curriculum across Canada is pretty uneven,” says Andrea Gunraj of the Canadian Women’s Foundation. “(We need) to make sure that there’s a higher standard … and not just leave it up to provincial or territorial governments to set those standards and expect it to be adequate across the nation.”
So, in which grade do educators teach consent, gender fluidity or the names of body parts in your province or territory?
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Approaching the anniversary of the attack at École Polytechnique, a group of reporters at Global News reflected on how we must provide better, more consistent and nuanced coverage of any woman, trans or non-binary person who has experienced violence, abuse or harassment if we are to play a role in eradicating it.
We set out to create Broken, a news project we believe Canada needs. This series addresses issues that contribute to and exacerbate violence against women.
To read the full Broken series, go here.
For a list of resources if you need help, go here.