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Quebec shelters wants men to 'speak up' and help combat violence against women


A federation representing Quebec shelters for abused women and their children wants men to speak up, act, and be part of the solution in fighting violence against women.

The Fédération des maisons d'hébergement pour femmes (FMHF) launched a 12-day campaign on Saturday with slogans such as "Stop violence against women of colour, Indigenous women, trans women, and sex workers," "If you blame the victim, you support the abuser," and "Stop sexist jokes and violent comments."

The FMHF said that in 2021, more than three-quarters of domestic violence perpetrators were men, and the federation wants to empower and mobilize men to fight this trend.

"We felt we wanted to address men because they're such a big part of the solution," said FMHF communications coordinator Elisabeth Viens Brouillard. "We think it's imperitive that they raise their voices and really join us in the fight against violence against women."

The campaign asks men to read and sign the manifesto on the FHMF that includes the call to denounce acts of violence, speak up when sexist or violent comments or jokes are made, urge elected officials to financially support abused women, and other calls.

"Violent and toxic men don't listen to women, unfortunately. That's why they're so toxic," said Brouillard. "Men have to take that responsibility and speak up and talk to their fellow members, friends, brothers, fathers, and let them know that violence against women is unacceptable."

More information on the campaign and an ally toolbox can be found here.

Florence-Olivia Genesse is a legal expert in the field of violence and abuse and one half of The Sis Official, a feminist organization that informs and advocates on women's issues. She said gender plays a huge role in violence against women.

"The link between violence, the performance of manhood, and the methods through which men and young men are taught to gain or recover something that has been taken from them is key to comprehending the core of the issue," she said, responding to the stabbing death of 61-year-old Mireille Martin of Laval on Thursday.

Martin's nephew Jerome Alfred Frigault, 30, has been charged with murder in relation to her death.

Genesse said that on average, a woman is killed by her current or former partner in Canada every six days and that femicides, where a woman is killed because she is a woman, are on the rise.

"While 56 per cent of all female homicides are carried out by intimate partners or other family members, only 11 per cent of male homicides occur within the private sphere," she said. "This information underscores the significance of considering gender dynamics when exploring the distressing phenomenon of young men perpetrating violence against female relatives."

The FMHF note that women remain over-represented as victims of domestic, sexual, cyber and conjugal violence.

"When it comes to women, so many different types of violence can be directed towards them," said Brouillard.

She said that though most men feel gender-based violence is unacceptable, the federation has a hard time mobilizing them to put their thoughts into action.

"Maybe most men don't feel concerned. Maybe they think it's a women's problem, a private problem, when really we are all are concerned about violence towards women," she said.

The FMHF has hosted other men's breakfasts where they can talk among themselves to find ways to take action.

"So many men aren't violent and want to be part of the fight," "Maybe they don't know how. Maybe they don't think it's their place, and with this campaign, we're very clear: "It is your place." Top Stories

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