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All Canadians have the right to live free from violence. Gender-based violence—defined as violence that is committed against someone based on their gender identity, gender expression or perceived gender Women and Gender Equality Canada —can have serious long-term physical, economic and emotional consequences for victims, their families, and for society more broadly. Measuring gender-based violence is complex. The victims—and even the perpetrators—may not themselves perceive the motivations for the incident as being rooted in social structures and systems, which can serve to produce and reproduce gender inequality and gendered violence across many dimensions.
Because of this, asking about gender-based violence directly in a survey may not lead to accurate findings or conclusions. Instead, asking about all experiences of violence and using contextual information—such as the gender of the victim and the perpetrator, the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator, and the nature and impact of the incident—allows for an examination of violence where the gender-based nature of an incident and the broader systemic factors underpinning these acts can be considered.
Using this general approach, decades of research and data collection in Canada show that women and girls are at higher risk of certain types of violence—and in many cases, other characteristics intersect with gender to impact the likelihood of experiencing violence. Factors such as age, race, disability, Sex chat Belle Isle ca status, and sexual orientation all intersect and can impact risk and protective factors, as well as access to support services.
Gender-based violence comprises a wide range of behaviours, some of which are not defined as criminal under Canadian law Benoit et al. In addition to overt acts of violence, gender-based violence also includes behaviours that can be more subtle, yet may cause victims to feel unsafe, uncomfortable or threatened because they were victimized because of their gender.
Unwelcome comments, actions, or advances while in public—despite not meeting a criminal threshold—may cause individuals to withdraw or to not otherwise fully engage in their daily activities or access spaces in which they have the right to freely use and enjoy Bastomski and Smith These behaviours can also serve to normalize, create, or support a culture where certain individuals feel targeted and discriminated against.
Indeed, while some research suggests that unwelcome gendered behaviours may be considered minor or trivial, especially in comparison to other types of sexual violence, they nevertheless come with their own set of consequences and negative impacts on daily life Bastomski and Smith ; Mellgren et al. InStatistics Canada conducted the Survey of Safety in Public and Private Spaces SSPPS with the goal of advancing knowledge of gender-based violence in Canada by collecting information on experiences and Sex chat Belle Isle ca of violent victimization as well as the continuum of other unwanted experiences while in public, online, or at work.
A key contribution of the SSPPS is a measure of the prevalence and nature of unwanted sexual behaviours faced by many Canadians while accessing public spaces, while online, or while in the workplace. This fills a critical gap by measuring behaviours that have ly not been a focus of other nationally representative surveys, given the fact that they tend not to rise to the threshold of criminal behaviour, and would therefore never be reported or included in other official data sources.
By also including questions which measure violence that meets the criminal threshold, such as physical and sexual assault, the SSPPS allows for a comparative analysis of the risk factors across the continuum of gender-based violence, while also providing more recent self-reported statistics on violent victimization.
These questions provide a more inclusive and accurate means of representing Canadians of all genders. Sex refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define males, females and intersex persons whereas gender refers to the roles and behaviours that society associates with being female or male Women and Gender Equality Canada Of note, this article presents data on women and men using their self-reported gender only and does not take into their sex ased at birth.
For example, an individual whose ased sex at birth was male but who identifies as a woman is counted in this analysis as a woman. In0. While data are available for transgender respondents, specific for gender-diverse respondents are not publishable due to small sample size and concerns for respondent privacy and confidentiality. More fulsome analysis of the transgender and gender diverse population is planned for release in a report forthcoming in In addition, the question on sexual orientation was revised to ask respondents if they were heterosexual, lesbian or gay, bisexual, or to specify their sexual orientation if it was not one of the response provided.
For the purposes of this report, the term sexual minority or sexual minorities is used to refer to those who stated their sexual orientation was anything other than heterosexual. Where possible, are disaggregated to present information separately for those who are gay or lesbian, bisexual, or sexual orientation, n.
Data collection and increasing knowledge is a central component of the Strategy and the SSPPS is one survey in a suite of tools being developed for the purpose of better understanding and addressing gender-based violence in Canada.
from the SSPPS will assist in the development of indicators that will be used to track progress and monitor trends related to the elimination of gender-based violence and harassment and the promotion of security of all people in Canada. This report presents initial findings on a wide range of behaviours, from inappropriate comments in public or online to physical and sexual assaults. are based on responses from more than 43, Canadians living in the ten provinces, who were each ased a weight so as to be representative of the entire Canadian population 15 years of age and older.
Data from Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut will be published at a later date, as will information on the various forms of intimate partner violence experienced by Canadians in their lifetime since age 15 and in the 12 months preceding the survey see Text box 2. Note This article takes a gender-based approach by comparing between genders and, where possible, taking the intersection of various other characteristics into. Intimate partner violence IPV is a form of gender-based violence. Although both women and men may experience IPVwomen tend to disproportionately experience the most severe forms Burczyckaare more likely to experience negative physical and emotional consequences as a result of the violence Burczyckaand comprise the majority of victims of intimate partner violence that is reported to police Burczycka b; Burczycka a.
To understand gender-based violence, it is critical to also understand the nature and prevalence of IPV. However, in the context of this report, IPV has been excluded for two principle reasons. The survey used 28 items covering abusive and violent behaviours including emotional abuse, financial abuse, physical violence, and sexual violence.
The breadth of these items, as well as the Sex chat Belle Isle ca addition of questions on the frequency of all types of behaviour, will facilitate analysis examining the various typologies and patterns of IPV and how they are experienced by various subpopulations in Canada, as well as exploring the risk factors, impacts and consequences, and prevalence of this type of violence. Gender-based violence encompasses a range of behaviours, not all of which meet the threshold of criminal behaviour Benoit et al. Therefore, in addition to the information on criminal behaviours that is collected in the Survey of Safety in Public and Private Spaces SSPPSan important data gap filled by the survey is a measure of behaviours that are not necessarily criminal in nature, yet still compromise feelings of safety in daily life.
The behaviours measured in the SSPPS that are broadly classified as unwanted behaviours in public are: unwanted physical contact such as touching or getting too close in a sexual manner ; indecent exposure; unwanted comments about sex or gender; unwanted comments about sexual orientation or assumed sexual orientation, and; unwanted sexual attention such as comments, whistles, gestures, or body language. Respondents were asked to report only those instances that caused them to feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
These types of behaviours are often a function of societal norms, structures, and beliefs, given that, like sexual assault, they tend to be gender-based. Although certain behaviours or gestures may be considered by some to be minor or trivial in comparison to overt sexual violence such as sexual assault, they nevertheless have ificant negative impacts on those who are victims of them Bastomski and Smith ; Mellgren et al.
Examining experiences in public spaces also acknowledges that, just as gender, age, and other characteristics intersect to influence the risk of being a victim of crime or experiencing unwanted behaviours, these same factors also guide how individuals perceive their own safety under certain conditions as well as how they use public spaces more generally Ceccato ; Perreault The SSPPS defined a public space as anywhere the public is able to access with little or no restriction e.
Note Unwanted sexual behaviour in these spaces was disproportionately experienced by women. The most common type of unwanted behaviour women experienced in public was unwanted sexual attention, such as comments, gestures, body language, whistles, or calls. More than 3.
This was in contrast to the other types of unwanted behaviour measured by the SSPPSwhich were more common among women. Most women and men who experienced any type of unwanted sexual behaviour in a public place said it happened once or twice in the past 12 months Chart 2. However, a considerably Sex chat Belle Isle ca proportion of women than men said that they experienced unwanted sexual attention or unwanted physical contact three or more times. On the whole, the likelihood of experiencing unwanted behaviours in public did not vary widely across the provinces.
The trend observed at the national level held true in all provinces inas women were more likely than men to have experienced unwanted behaviours in public across the country Table 2. Experiencing unwanted behaviours in a public place was more likely to occur in urban areas and major cities.
Those who lived in the core of a census metropolitan area CMA Note or a census agglomeration CA Note were more likely to have experienced inappropriate behaviours in public than those who lived in a rural area or in a CMA or CA but outside of the core. This may be due in part to the nature of populated urban areas compared with rural areas, as there are not only more public spaces where people may congregate, but also a higher volume and density of people.
The higher prevalence of these types of behaviour may also be related to younger populations in the urban core as well as the higher degree of anonymity afforded to those living in urban centres, in contrast to rural areas where people are more likely to know one another and familiarity or interconnectedness may dissuade certain behaviours. The prevalence of unwanted sexual behaviour in public places did not differ across most CMAs. Those that were different from the national average tended to follow a relatively consistent pattern: the prevalence was lower in CMAs east of Ontario and higher in those CMAs in Ontario, the Prairie provinces, and British Columbia Chart 3.
In Ottawa, Toronto, Regina, Calgary, Vancouver, and Victoria, about four in ten women experienced unwanted sexual behaviours while in a public place in the past 12 months. Return to note 1 referrer. When holding demographic characteristics constant, the odds of experiencing unwanted behaviour in public were nearly four times higher among women when compared to men Model 1.
However, not all women and men have the same likelihood of experiencing inappropriate or unwanted behaviour in public places. Given that the individuals that comprise these have varying socio-demographic characteristics, the probability of experiencing unwanted behaviour in public can also vary Table 3. The odds of experiencing unwanted sexual behaviour in public were three times higher among 15 to year-old and 25 to year-old women when Sex chat Belle Isle ca to those 35 years of age and older.
Similarly, being a sexual minority see Text box 1 increased the odds of experiencing unwanted sexual behaviour in public by 2. For women, being single or having a disability each with 1. Note Though women currently attending school had a higher prevalence than nearly all other groups of women, this association did not hold true when controlling for other factors—and particularly, age.
When holding demographic characteristics constant, sexual orientation was the largest risk factor for men, where sexual minorities had odds of experiencing unwanted sexual behaviour in public nearly four times higher than heterosexual men. Age also continued to have an impact even when controlling for other variables, with the odds about twice as high among those 15 to 24 or 25 to 34 when compared to those 35 or older.
Having a disability had a similar impact to that of age on the odds of experiencing unwanted sexual behaviour in public among men. While it did not emerge as a ificant characteristic on its own for women, Indigenous identity increased the odds of experiencing unwanted sexual behaviour in public among men by 1. Most Canadians who were targeted by unwanted sexual behaviour said that one person was responsible for the most serious instance Note. Given the nature of many public places and, as mentioned, the higher prevalence reported by those living in higher-density areas in urban centres, the person responsible was most commonly a stranger.
This representedwomen andmen in —likely an underestimation of the total scope of those who experienced unwanted sexual behaviour on public transportation, since those who were targeted were only asked to provide details about the most serious instance. Research has noted several possible negative outcomes of experiencing unwanted behaviours in public, such as having to alter their routines, their behaviours, or their means of transportation due to fear while in public or perhaps in order to avoid experiencing further harassment Fisher et al.
These reactions can hinder movement and further infringe on the ability to fully engage in society and access public spaces, particularly for women since they are more likely to be the targets of these behaviours Bastomski and Smith For both women and men, avoidance—of certain people, situations, or places—was the most common behavioural change made after experiencing unwanted sexual behaviours in public Chart 4.
As a result of the most serious instance, women were more likely than men to avoid certain places, change their self-presentation in public i. While not necessarily resulting in behavioural changes, experiences of unwanted sexual behaviours typically had a negative emotional impact on those who experienced them. Most often, these experiences caused feelings of annoyance, increased cautiousness and awareness, anger, and confusion or frustration. These impacts can serve to limit the ways in which women interact or engage with society and access or use public spaces. In Sex chat Belle Isle ca to looking at behaviours in public, the Survey of Safety in Public and Private Spaces SSPPS also explored forms of negative experiences encountered while online or using a smartphone or cellphone in the past 12 months.
While online spaces can be public i. That said, like public places, everyone should be free to access all online spaces without being made to feel unsafe or uncomfortable because of their gender, yet harassment and abuse experienced online has been recognized as an emerging form of gender-based violence, particularly against women and girls Lewis et al. Given that much of daily life now takes place online, understanding certain online behaviours and how they impact Canadians of all genders is important.
As was the case with the prevalence of unwanted behaviours in public, the majority of those who experienced unwanted behaviour online stated that it happened once or twice in the past 12 months. When holding other demographic factors constant, 15 to 24 year old women had odds Sex chat Belle Isle ca as high as those 35 or older of experiencing unwanted behaviour online.Sex chat Belle Isle ca
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Sex workers as peer health advocates: community empowerment and transformative learning through a Canadian pilot program