Alberta’s ‘gender equity score’ improves since last check: ACWS


A second survey of Alberta men showed improvement in general attitudes towards violence against women but also that the majority of men don’t understand why women stay in abusive relationships.This is the second survey of its kind conducted by the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters. The first was done in 2012.Since then, there has been a positive shift in attitudes, the group said. Story continues below


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READ MORE: Calls for greater gender parity as International Women’s Day approaches More men said they would likely recognize that violence against women and girls affects the women they care about (65 per cent in 2016, up from 54 per cent in 2012).Nearly all (97 per cent) of the men surveyed said violence and abuse against women is a concern to them.Scroll down to read the full 2016 survey results.One in five men said he witnessed an abusive behaviour against a woman in the past year in a social environment. Two-thirds of those men checked to see if the woman was OK or needed help. Sixty-one per cent said something or challenged the man’s behaviour.WATCH: Alberta MLA Maria Fitzpatrick’s speech to the Legislative Assembly  

The ACWS found younger men are more likely to have witnessed abusive, harassing behaviour than other survey respondents.However, the survey found 61 per cent of Alberta men found it hard to understand why women stay in an abusive relationship.“This statistic points to the need for greater education of the dynamics of abuse, the multiple financial barriers women face, the implications for children and the fact that women are at high risk of being killed by a controlling abusive spouse after they leave a relationship,” Jan Reimer, ACWS executive director said.“Essentially, this puts the responsibility on survivors of violence rather than perpetrators.”RAW VIDEO: Maria Fitzpatrick opens up about the experiences fuelling her private member’s bill 

More problems persist, according to the CEO of the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services.Deb Tomlinson said the study findings show that rape culture appears to be as great a concern in Alberta as it was four years ago.“While encouraged that fewer men agree if women wear provocative clothing, they are putting themselves at risk for sexual assault,” she said, the reporting rate of sexual assault remains at “an alarming three per cent.”Tomlinson said there needs to be a shift from rape culture to a culture of ‘we believe you.’Until that time, she said, “survivors don’t get the help they need, don’t access the criminal justice system and offenders are not held accountable for the crimes they have committed.”READ MORE: Alberta’s Status of Women ministry unveils mandate ahead of Women’s Day The Gender Equity Score is modelled after a similar Australian survey.The 2016 edition also found education and tools are needed to help Alberta men intervene and that a large number of men feel that education on gender issues starts at home.ACWS Provincial Feb 29 2016


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