Did You Know: Women And Poverty In Canada 

Introduction: April 16-22 is Prevention of Violence Against Women Week. During this time the Robson Valley Support Society will be running five campaigns throughout our communities of Valemount and McBride on various topics affecting women.

Since we cannot run all of these within the week of April 16-22, we will be featuring a topic over the next five issues.

One of the key reasons to address women’s poverty is that helping poor women helps poor children, putting an end to a vicious cycle.

Some groups have higher rates of poverty and are more likely than others to be poor. 

They include: 

More than 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness annually, costing the economy $7 billion. On a given night, more than 35,000 Canadians are homeless. Women parenting on their own enter shelters at twice the rate of two-parent families. Domestic violence against women and children is a contributing factor to homelessness. When women become homeless, they are also at an increased risk of violence, sexual assault and exploitation.

Why should we focus on women and poverty?

When children are poor, it’s usually because their mother is poor. The number of lone parent families is on the rise and 80 per cent of all lone-parent families are headed by women.

Women who leave a partner to raise children on their own are more than five times likely to live in poverty than if they stay with their partner. There’s plenty of evidence showing abused women sometimes stay in abusive relationships because they know that leaving will plunge themselves and their children into poverty.

Why are women more likely to be poor?

Women spend more time doing unpaid work, leaving less time for paid work.  Each day, men and women work about the same number of hours, but women do more unpaid work (housework, childcare, meal preparation, eldercare, etc.). Among families with both parents working full time, women spend 49.8 hours per week on childcare, while men spend 27.2 hours per week. Among full-time working couples, women spend 13.9 hours per week on household work, while men spend 8.6 hours.

In order to juggle their domestic responsibilities, many women choose part-time, seasonal, contract, or temporary jobs. Unfortunately, most of these jobs are low paid, with no security, few opportunities for advancement, and no health benefits. Almost 70% of part-time workers are women and 60% of minimum-wage earners are female. 

Canada’s lack of affordable childcare—and the lack of workplace policies such as flex-time and caregiver leave—often forces women into career choices that severely limit their earning power.

For more information on child subsidy, budgeting employment and training opportunities - please call Robson Valley Support Society at 250-569-2266 ask for Penny and or Bridget.

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Did You Know?

Sexual assault is any sexual activity or touching that happens without your permission. Sexualized violence includes more than rape; if you have been kissed, fondled, forced to (or too afraid not to) participate, you didn't give consent. It can happen to women and men, girls and boys.Hopefully you can find someone safe to talk to who will listen and support you; but if you can’t, write down what happened in case you want to contact support services later. Unbiased and confidential program staff at the Robson Valley Support Society (RVSS) can provide information, support, and confidential safe shelter at any time. We can explain what will happen if you do decide to go to the hospital and/or report to police, and help and/or accompany you through those processes.Medical staff can help treat injuries; test for sexually transmitted infections and provide antibiotics; provide immunizations against Hepatitis; provide emergency birth control methods; and test for “date rape drugs”.A hospital or health centre can collect evidence using a sexual assault kit. It can even be held on ice while you decide if you want to make a police report. If you decide not to, after twelve months the Kit will be destroyed.Health care workers will not automatically report the crime to the police. You don’t have to report the assault to have the kit done.The decision to report the assault to the police is yours. You might choose to wait, just remember that it’s easier for the police to investigate the sooner you are able to report.Third Party Reporting is an option in BC for those who wish to report to the RCMP but remain anonymous. It’s a statement made with the help of a RVSS worker, outlining the incident, giving as many details as possible, but does not reveal the identity of the victim.Sexual Assault is a crime under the Criminal code of Canada, and there is no Statute of Limitations on reporting it; that means it can be reported at any time. It is important that someone who has experienced sexualized violence have a supportive, non-judgemental person to talk to. If you are that person your only job is to believe them and support their choices and the pace they make them at.

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Raising awareness on the issues facing women

 Did You Know?

The Robson Valley Support Society offers a variety of women centered programs that have a direct focus on preventing Violence against Women.   Here’s some of what we offer in McBride & Valemount:

-Safe Shelter Program-

-The Police Based Victim Services (PBVS) Program-

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Human Trafficking – it is happening here!

It is happening on the Yellowhead Highway, Highway 5 and Highway 16 every single day - 98% of people trafficked are women and girls, but men and boys are trafficked too, and the experience harm is as great as for women and girls. 

20% of trafficked victims are children. Many victims have been first trafficked as a young teenager, typically at age 13 or 14. Some come from middle-class homes with parents who care for them, others have been living in group homes or were already on the street when they were first trafficked. The rise of the Internet has made it possible for traffickers to, as one mother put it, “enter my daughter’s bedroom through her computer screen.” The sexual exploitation of children is always ILLEGAL.

You don’t need to cross borders to be trafficked. Most people associate trafficking with travel across national borders. 93% of Canada’s trafficking victims come from within Canada’s borders. The defining factor in trafficking is not travel. It is coercion and control.

Sexual exploitation is not the only form of trafficking. In North America both men and women are trafficked into domestic labour, farm work and the service industry.

Traffickers are typically Canadian citizens and can be of any race or ethnic background. Many have a history of criminal activity, with offences involving weapons, threats, theft, drug trafficking and possession, sexual assault and assault. Many have also been involved in prostitution related activities. The RCMP estimates traffickers in Canada can receive an average annual financial gain of $280,000 for every woman or girl they have trafficked.

Most studies show men who buy sex represent a cross section of Canadian men: mostly Caucasian, mostly married or in common-law relationships, educated, employed, and middle-class.

What Can We Do?

1. LEARN ABOUT IT

Get informed about sex trafficking of women and girls in Canada: canadianwomen.org/trafficking

2. SPEAK UP ABOUT IT

Sexual exploitation is driven by demand. Speak up about the realities of women and girls exploited in the sex industry.

3. CHALLENGE IT

Contact your federal, provincial or local government representative to ask what they’re doing about sex trafficking, raise the issue with your local paper, or bring it up at a community meeting.

4. STOP IT

If you suspect that sex trafficking is happening in your community, or you are a trafficking victim, contact: VictimLinkBC, a toll-free, confidential, multilingual telephone service available across B.C. and the Yukon 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-563-0808. It provides information and referral services to all victims of crime and immediate crisis support to victims of family and sexual violence, including victims of human trafficking exploited for labour or sexual services. 

5. CHANGE IT

Help the Canadian Women’s Foundation to bring an end to the sex trafficking of women and girls in Canada.

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Introduction: April 16-22 was Prevention of Violence Against Women Week. Throughout the week the Robson Valley Support Society ran a total of five campaigns throughout Valemount and McBride on various topics affecting women. Since we were unable to run all of these within that week, we are featuring a topic over a series of issues. This final issue talks about the Red Dress Campaign. Watch for Red Dress Campaign Walks in the fall.


DoyouknowabouttheRedDressCampaign?

Started in 2011 by emerging artist Jamie Black from   Manitoba, the REDRESS PROJECT focuses on drawing attention to the staggering number of missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada.

Valemount Salon owner of A Cut Above and RVSS Board member Sherry Tinsley is working towards creating more awareness about the Red Dress Campaign, a worthy cause, by selling decals to be displayed for all to see.

Decals are $10

Proceeds stay in the Robson Valley to be used towards an Emergency Funds for Women 

Sold at: A Cut Above, 

RVSS-Valemount 250-566-9107

RVSS-McBride 250-569-2266

 



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-Other related RVSS Programming-


For more information please contact RVSS: 250-569-2266 or 250-566-9107, or visit our website at www.robsonvalleysupportsociety.org