Five ways you can prevent violence against women

Category : Blog

1. Challenge your beliefs about women and girls

The most important thing you can do to prevent violence against women is to start with yourself and your beliefs.

Think about the ways that your beliefs about women may be furthering oppressive attitudes.  Violence against women stems from patriarchy and the belief that men are entitled to have control over women’s lives, bodies and rights. When women step outside of their designated boundaries, violence is used to control and silence them. 

Think about your beliefs about women’s abilities, autonomy and rights. Do you believe women always have the right to make decisions that are right for them, for their lives and for their bodies, regardless of their age, race, sexual orientation, gender expression, religion, or ability?

If you are a man, are you aware of the power imbalances that exist in social or professional settings? Do you take care to make sure that women’s voices are amplified and heard?

Be conscious of the ways that you can hold yourself accountable and do better.

2. Recognize the importance of consent

Consent comes with true respect for women’s autonomy and bodies. Consent needs to come hand-in-hand with the elimination of the feeling of male entitlement to women’s bodies.

Educate youth to ensure they are aware of their boundaries and others’ boundaries. Teach them about their rights and how to respect others’ bodies, boundaries and rights.

3. Use social media for good

Challenge abusive and degrading language that you see online or within your social circles. Be critical of what you read online.

Follow Dixon on Facebook and Twitter to keep up-to-date in the world of feminism and ending violence against women. You can also subscribe to our newsletter!

4. Be supportive

If women see that their friends, family, or community don’t support survivors, or hold oppressive attitudes towards women, they may think that experiencing violence is something to be ashamed about. They may think that violence enacted on them is their fault. As a result of that shame or fear, women might not speak up about violence they’re experiencing. Only the perpetrator of violence is accountable for their act of violence.

Believe women who share their stories. Offer support if they need it, but remember it is their choice and right to access support and services.

5. Consider giving to an organization that works to end violence against women.

Many organizations that work to end violence against women are not-for-profit and rely heavily on donations to keep their services in place. These organizations are more needed than ever. 

If you are not able to give financially, consider volunteering for or giving an in-kind donation to a worthy organization.

When you support Dixon, you help us provide our excellent support services for women and children fleeing violence, while also helping us raise awareness about the issue and impacts of violence against women. Ensuring that the community is aware of the issue is another way that we work to prevent violence against women.

Find out how to get involved.

Canadian federal election: Key issues we care about

Category : Blog

The 2019 Canadian federal election is coming up, and as always, we’re putting the women we serve at the centre.

According to the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability, in 2018, 148 women were killed in Canada. That is a woman killed every 2.5 days. Violence against women is a public health crisis. However, it is not the cause of women’s inequity, it is a symptom.

We hope that the next government will invest in a national strategy that addresses the root causes of discrimination and violence against women and girls. Such a strategy would:

Address the root causes of discrimination and violence against women

  • Invest in education. Celebrate and acknowledge the diversity of race, sex, sexual orientation, and gender expressions in the mosaic that makes up Canada. Educate children, youth, and the community at large to eliminate misogynistic and patriarchal practices that lead to gender-based violence and violence against women. Sexual and domestic violence against women and girls are the results of a misogynistic culture that normalizes male entitlement to women and girls’ bodies.
  • Address sex-based crimes by collecting accurate statistical information and by holding perpetrators of violence against women accountable.
  • Address discrimination and violence against gender non-conforming individuals without erasure of women from language, data collection, policies, and laws.
  • Adequately fund women’s shelters and women’s rape crisis centres to provide quality services for women and children fleeing violence. This will also enable women’s organizations to strategize and respond to the local needs of our communities effectively and work towards breaking the cycle of violence.


  • Create a universal childcare system: Access to childcare enables women to go to school, work, and gain financial independence. Women working contributes to the growth of the economy.


  • Maintain a national housing strategy: Women can only leave domestic violence situations if they have access to safe, secure, and affordable housing.

Address poverty and reducing barriers

  • Establish a universal Guaranteed Livable Income (GLI) program to replace the current variety of income supports. Those earning above a certain total income would pay the GLI back in taxes. This program would eliminate women’s economic dependence on abusers and drastically reduce the exploitation of women and girls.

In this upcoming Canadian federal election, you can decide if our next government takes action to end violence against women and girls. We hope you’ll keep these issues in mind as you prepare to make your way to the ballot box this week.

Five myths about violence against women

Category : Blog

Violence against women has long been seen as a private problem. With the growth of feminism and the rise of the #MeToo movement, we’re slowly but surely beginning to realize that keeping domestic violence “behind closed doors” endangers women. Still, the topic isn’t often discussed, and that can lead to some misconceptions. In this blog post, we’re busting five myths about violence against women.

Myth #1: Abuse is always physical

Violence against women presents itself differently in every situation and can take many forms, whether physical, emotional, sexual, or financial.

Physical abuse can include pushing, throwing objects, punching, threatening to hurt you, reckless driving, refusing to help when you’re sick or pregnant, or leaving you in dangerous places.

Emotional abuse can include ignoring your feelings, refusing to share money, preventing you from working, ridiculing, humiliation, threatening to hurt you or your family, or threatening to kidnap your children.

Sexual abuse can include rape, forcing particular unwanted sexual acts, forcing sex after physical abuse, using derogatory language, minimizing the importance of your feelings about sex, telling anti-women jokes, or making demeaning remarks about women.

Financial abuse can include controlling how money is spent, withholding money, or not allowing a woman to work or earn money.

Associating “abuse” with just physical or sexual acts ignores the experiences of women who face many other forms of abuse. It can also make it more difficult for women to recognize other dangerous behaviour in their partners.

Myth #2: Violence against women only affects certain groups of women

Violence against women knows no boundaries and does not discriminate based on socioeconomic status, education, race, culture, and so on.

A survey we conducted in 2018 of women who had participated in Wenda’s Place Second Stage program found that 80% of participants had post-secondary education. More than the majority of the women who stayed at Dixon Transition House last year were Canadian citizens.

Though violence against women affects women of every race, socioeconomic or educational status, and so on, it’s also important to recognize that, due to historical and current discrimination and prejudice, Indigenous women are disproportionately impacted by violence. The rate of self-reported violent victimization among Aboriginal women in 2009 was about 2.5 times higher than the rate for non-Aboriginal women.

At Dixon, we are striving to ensure that Indigenous women feel safe and supported when accessing our services. Thanks to Civil Forfeiture grants, we’ve hired a staff member to build a strong, culturally safe, Indigenous component to our programs. This year, we also hosted a collaborative learning event for transitional housing programs to facilitate discussion about how to best support Indigenous women who access transitional housing services.

Transitional housing service providers seated around multiple round tables while Dixon's Housing Outreach Worker, Jasmine, presents behind a podium, gesturing to a flip chart
Dixon Transition Society’s “Serving Indigenous Women” event, held in May 2019.

Myth #3: Both partners are responsible for the violence

Only the abuser is responsible for his abusive and violent behaviour.

As part of the abuser’s emotional manipulation and coercion, women are often led to believe that their behaviour causes their abuser’s actions. Although abusers may attempt to justify their behaviour with blame or denial, violence is never acceptable and is never the victim’s fault.

Myth #4: I don’t hear much about violence against women, so it must not be common

As we’ve said, domestic violence happens behind closed doors and there are many reasons you don’t hear about it.

Women often do not report to authorities because they do not want the abuser to go to jail, or from fear of retaliation. They may be considering children, pets, or other family members. Women may also be hesitant to share their experience with friends and family due to fear or shame. It’s also important to consider that the moment of leaving a domestic violence situation is often the most dangerous for women because it is when an abuser’s power is most threatened and he has nothing to lose. Femicide often happens at the time of leaving.

The truth is that femicide is overwhelmingly common, to the point of being an epidemic: in Canada, one woman or girl is killed every other day, on average, and about once a week, a woman in is killed by her male partner.

Myth #5: Domestic violence is a personal issue that should be handled by the people in the relationship

Violence against women is a crime and a symptom of a misogynistic culture. The safety and success of women is directly linked to social health, and that makes addressing domestic violence the responsibility of the community.

If you or someone you know requires our services, you can call our 24-hour intake line at our transition house at 604-298-3454. However, if you are in danger, please call 911.

For further resources, you can visit our Resources page.

You can also contribute to a culture that keeps women safe by inviting Dixon Transition Society to come and speak to your team. We speak on topics like:

  • the causes and impact of violence against women
  • how to support co-workers who may be experiencing violence
  • how Dixon makes a difference in the community.
Dixon Transition Society’s Executive Director, Pany, and Manager of Operations & Services, Claire, present on Project Impact at our 2018 Donor & Volunteer Appreciation Event.

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