Let's Empower our Women!

by oliviahollant on May 14, 2013 - 11:32pm


Did you know that every 6 days in Canada, a woman is murdered by her husband or boyfriend? Also, that on any regular day, more than 3, 000 women and 2, 500 kids live in an emergency shelter to escape the terrors of domestic violence? These alarming statistics definitely convinced me into believing that the issue of spousal abuse that many Canadian women are facing today is an important one. Fortunately, this semester, I’ve had the opportunity of making a difference in my community through an interesting final project. The project required me to search for a disturbing news story, inform myself on the topic and react to the issue by volunteering to make a difference. After reading the shocking news story of model Reeva Steenkamp who was murdered by her Olympic athlete boyfriend Oscar Pistorius, I decided to orient my final project towards the subject of women’s issues.

I was astonished after reading an interesting article by Pumza Fihlani that described the events in the 30 year old model’s murder case along with a short description of the crime situation in South Africa. The informative article was posted on BBC News February 14th 2013, last Valentine’s Day, the day when beautiful Steenkamp’s life came to an end.   In her piece of writing, Fihlani describes that the well-known Paralympics athlete Oscar Pistorius shot his girlfriend dead in his home, an address where the police asserts that incidents had taken place before. Moreover, it is stated in Fihlani’s article that South Africa has one of the world’s highest crime rates and is one of the most violent and unequal societies in the world where most residents keep weapons in their homes to protect themselves from trespassers. 

My initial reaction to the news story was that of utter shock. Why would such a living legend like Pistorius, who proved to the world that victory in athletics could be obtained even with a disability, commit such a heinous act, ruining his reputation? There are probably many answers to that question, but what I was particularly concerned about was the issue of men’s abuse of women. In effect, the occurrence of violence against women is not only a South African issue, as it is also present in our North American societies. Learning about what was going on in a different part of the world initiated me into a further research of types of women abuses occurring in societies that resemble my own. Throughout my research I came across a particularly interesting article entitled “Branded by tattoos: A lesser-known form of domestic violence”, depicting an unfamiliar type of abuse that many women have faced in New York. This type of domestic violence implies that a women’s spouse imposes her to tattoo his name on her body. In her article, Norah O’Donnell, a CBS news reporter describes the testimonies of two young women who were victims of this type of violence. Additionally, she explains the voluntary work of Dawn Maestas, victim of the abuse in her past; a tattoo removal specialist who dedicates her time voluntarily to remove the tattoos of young women who were scared by their offenders. I’ve linked a video related to O’Donnell’s article here.

Without a doubt, reading these interesting news stories this semester have triggered my interest into the topic of women’s issues and brought me to reflect on how I, like Dawn Maestas, could invest some time in doing voluntary work to help women in my community. Indeed, I think it is very important for women victims of spousal violence to receive aid in order to recover from the physical and emotional suffering they have endured. Being a woman has added personal significance to the issue for me.  Imagining myself in the position of the abused woman I’ve read about this semester has made me feel a greater need for change. Through my participation in the construction of their website, I decided to volunteer for the Health & Wellness Club at Champlain College St-Lambert and start taking action. The main goal in my contribution to this website was to sensitize its viewers to the importance of the woman abuse issue and informing them on ways they can also contribute to ameliorate the problem. I attained this goal through the creation of an informative prezi slide show in which I initially presented different Canadian facts about woman issues and concluded with reasons why one should take action. Once fully operational, my prezi will be displayed on a page along with a short article on ways to get involved, here in Montreal. Finally, to add a final touch to my final project, I made a personal suggestion to the Health & Wellness Club about a future campaign that could be introduced at Champlain College to sensitize students to women issues.

Here is the link to the prezi slide show I have created: http://prezi.com/3d9ulcsvvs4l/present/?auth_key=4j0axeh&follow=ztoavsyzsznz&kw=present-3d9ulcsvvs4l&rc=ref-41614215

Here is the like to the Health & Wellness website:


Here are the links to the news articles I have used to conduct my final project: