As you all know I had some initial thoughts around the types of Charities for which I would help raise awareness with my climb to Kilimanjaro. However sometimes things happen in life that allow you to get crystal clear. In the past few weeks since announcing the climb much has happened, the postponement of the climb and the discovery of what social ill I want to use this climb to raise awareness and if possible funds for.
I was recently stumped/shocked and angry to discover that a wonderful 16-year-old young woman whom I love and respect was violated by a young man while walking down her neighborhood street in broad daylight. The violation was not a rape in the worse way that it could have been. However her body was touched in an indecent manner without her consent.
This was simply horrible to me, and helped to crystallize the cause that I will champion with this climb. Not only because I am a woman and this is a woman focused blog but because after doing some research I recognize that the issue of Violence against Women is a universal scourge on our society that is not going away. I want to lend my voice to the shout that A Woman’s Body is her Own. A Woman’s Body is Her Right and no one but her has dominion over it in any and all circumstances.
I captured a few heartbreaking stats from two sites online that speak to the magnitude of this problem in Canada and around the world.
Canadian Stats: Borrowed from Canadian Women’s Foundation website. Click for a comprehensive list of Facts about Violence Against Women in Canada.
- Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.
- Girls experience sexual assault at much higher rates than boys: 82% of all victims under the age of 18 are female.
- Girls are four times as likely as boys to be sexually assaulted by a family member
- According to both police-reported and self-reported data, younger women are at a much higher risk of violent victimization.
- 66% of all female victims of sexual assault are under the age of twenty-four (11% are under the age of eleven)
- The rates of violent crime against women aged 15 to 24 is 42% higher than rates for women aged 25 to 34, and nearly double than the rates for women aged 35 to 44.
- Women aged 15 to 24 are killed at nearly three times the rate for all female victims of domestic homicide.
- On average, every six days a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner.
- Many racialized women face barriers to reporting incidents of physical or sexual assault or seeking help. “A study with young women of colour in Toronto found that one-in-five experienced racism in the health care system which included cultural insensitivity, racial slurs, and poor quality care
Global Stats – Borrowed from World Health Organization Violence Against Women Fact Sheet
- Recent global prevalence figures indicate that 35% of women worldwide have experienced either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.
- On average, 30% of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence by their partner.
- Globally, as many as 38% of murders of women are committed by an intimate partner
- between 15% of women in Japan and 71% of women in Ethiopia reported physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime;
- between 0.3–11.5% of women reported experiencing sexual violence by a non-partner since the age of 15 years;
- the first sexual experience for many women was reported as forced – 17% in rural Tanzania, 24% in rural Peru, and 30% in rural Bangladesh.
Based on the above alone we can see that women and girls are barely safe in their homes far less for out in the world. Further, the startling number of women who are hurt by intimate partners and violated at a young age suggests that while we focus our attentions on making women understand their rights and learn how to protect themselves, much work is needed in teaching young men and boys the rights of women and girls to their bodies.
For this reason my campaign will focus on building awareness for programs that work with young boys and men. Teaching them that the only body they have unequivocal access to is their own.
The campaign is designed to educate around 3 key points:
- It is WRONG to touch and invade a young woman’s personal space and body in any way without her consent.
- When trusted with access to a woman’s body it should be done with respect and WITHOUT abuse – mental, physical, verbal, emotional or otherwise.
- Finally & Most importantly No matter what the circumstances NO means STOP – If you are not invited Do NOT Touch and even when invited NO Means STOP!
My Personal Journey & Campaign will include:
- Go Fund Me- Fundraising page To Raise funds and awareness for the climb. Also raise funds for the print of an awareness building T-shirt
- No Means Stop T-shirt – T-Shirt which will reflect the language & look in the above image. Proceeds after costs will be donated to specific programs/ workshops dealing with Violence against Women in our partner Organizations.
- Official Press Release/ Blog Posts/ Social Media Strategy – The Campaign will be supported by Traveling Black Chicks Blog & Facebook Page & Twitter pages documenting my ‘Journey to Kilimanjaro’ and will include interviews with partner organizations sharing their work etc.
The official hashtags for this campaign are: #NomeansStop and #tbcjourneytokili!
It is my intention to summit Kilimanjaro on International Women’s Day, March 8th, 2014.
After the Climb – Once I summit and am back on home soil my intention is to continue this work through talks about the climb and the Importance of Consent.
So there you have it –
“This is my quest; to follow that star no matter how hopeless no matter how far..to fight for the right without question or pause. To be willing to march into hell for that heavenly cause” From the poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling
- 25th November – What’s In A Name? (kareningalasmith.com)
- If there are Blurred Lines around sexual harassment, let’s clear them up (theguardian.com)
- Can We Stop Blaming Sexual Violence On Drunk Women? Not Only Is It Not Accurate, It’s Not Original. (hopefiending.wordpress.com)
- One billion rising campaign for justice – Swaziland (observer.org.sz)
- Stop the violence against women with disability (abc.net.au)
- Violence against women continues at appalling rate, says Governor-General (smh.com.au)
- Study: 1 in 10 men in parts of Asia have raped (bigstory.ap.org)