Monday, July 20, 2009

New Funding Puts Blame On Girls

The Canadian Government has completely missed the mark and entered very dangerous territory by funding a program that, as part of its mandate, blames girls for domestic/dating violence, giving legitimacy to "blame the victim."

From the Toronto Star:

MATANE, QC, July 16 /CNW Telbec/ - The Government of Canada is pleased to provide support to Regroupement des femmes de la région de Matane for its project, Et toi ton couple, ça clic? (So, Are You Clicking as a Couple?). This project aims to promote equitable, non-violent behaviour in the romantic relationships of adolescents by targeting the hypersexualization of girls as a root cause of dating violence. The Honourable *Helena Guergis*, Minister of State (Status of Women) made the announcement today.

"Through support for this project, we are addressing a priority issue for this Government - to end all forms of violence against women and girls across the country. By learning self-esteem and self-respect, the girls involved in this project will adopt solid values that will guide them in all aspects of their lives," said Minister of State Guergis. "By focusing on outreach, the project will help hundreds of girls, as well as their mothers, sisters, friends and relatives, become empowered to contribute to their community and their country. I am proud to be part of a Government that recognizes the significance of this issue and the need to take concrete steps to end violence against all women."

The Minister of State announced $144,361 in funding over 36 months for the project Et toi ton couple, ça clic? Funding for this project comes from the Women's Community Fund of the Women's Program of Status of Women Canada.

"Research shows that hypersexualization puts pressure on girls to engage prematurely in sexual activity and also promotes violence in intimate relationships," said Ms. Marie-Laure Leymonie, Coordinator of the Regroupement des femmes de la région de Matane. "Thanks to funding from the Government of Canada, the girls will learn to identify abusive behaviour, set limits and have healthier, more equitable relationships."

As part of the project, 15 girls in the Regional County Municipality of Matane will be trained to act as community outreach workers and agents of change in their schools and communities, and more than 1,000 youths, including 350 boys, will become better equipped to combat violence in their romantic relationships.

I am all for empowerment and teaching girls how to "identify abusive behaviour, set limits and have healthier, more equitable relationships" but claiming that hypersexualization is a "root cause" is saying that men and boys don't have to be held accountable for their actions towards girls and women, because, you know, they couldn't control their actions because the girls were too "sexy."

1 comment:

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