I have been doing some research on domestic violence laws, relationship laws and age of consent in Canada and I have had some real eye openers!
I know we all have so many causes to fight for these days and often some pretty harsh realties get lost in our fights but is that any reason to be unschooled in what shapes our country in the present and future?
We think we are so far ahead in Canada and we have so much freedom, which we do but there are still so many laws in place that prevent women young and old from gaining equality.
Here are some examples of laws that were and how they have changed in my lifetime. You make the judgement if its a giant step forward.
In 1890 the age of consent was changed from twelve to fourteen years old so up to that time there was a period of time when the age a child would be considered to give consent for any sexual activity would be twelve.
In 2008 the then Prime Minster, Harper raised the age of consent to sixteen with the close in age exception which states that twelve to fourteen year olds could have sex with someone two years older than them and fourteen and fifteen year olds can have sex with people who are five years older with the exceptions of course of people in authority and relatives. It also states that children under twelve years of age can never legally consent to sexual activity and there are exceptions to the law of whet you can’t do before the age of eighteen and they are The other person has a relationship of trust or authority over them, or they are dependent on that person. People in positions of trust or authority include, for example, a teacher, coach, babysitter, family member, minister or doctor; it involves exploitative activity, such as prostitution or pornography; they are paid, or offered payment, for sex and if there is anal sex (unless they are a legally married couple).
So it took one hundred and eighteen years to come this far and is it really all that much further?, sure I’m glad to know my twelve year old granddaughters can’t give consent to have sex but I’m hoping their parents are making sure of that but now what about children that are fourteen and think they are eighteen if it benefits them. Who is looking after them? Who is making sure that they are not having sex with a nineteen year old or a fifteen year old having sex with a twenty year old? It that really so much better. You cannot be consider an adult to sign a contract unless you are eighteen but you can give consent for sex
Why are we so content to live quietly in a country where it takes a government one hundred and eighteen years to change a law that was perverted and immoral.
Then there are the laws that affect women who are victims or survivors of domestic violence . Here are some examples of them, lets see how far or how long it took for changes. Lets start with this one:
In 1983 the law was changed making sexually assaulting your wife a crime before that law a wife was legally considered to be the property of her husband! So when that law came into affect I was twenty five years old and had been married in Newfoundland for over nine years. I had given birth to three children, been severely physically and sexually abused by my husband, been through the devastation of a stillborn, an hysterectomy, all over a period of nine years and three months.
I didn’t even know about this law but now when I think about the community where all this took place and I wondered when I screamed and ran from my house crying, battered and beaten and pleading for someone to help me, no one helped me, now I know why!
Previous before the 1980’s arrest wasn’t mandatory or charges laid by the police when a wife called them for being beaten, all that burden was on the wife and back then a husband would only be charged with assault and probably didn’t even get jail time. It took until the early 1980s for the No-Drop law to come in affect making impossible for the woman or spouse to drop charges and even to this day not much is done unless someone dies.
Please don’t get me wrong I’m glad those changes came but why did it take so long? Can we expect it to take that long again for changes to come?
I walked away from the place I had lived and been abused for twenty eight years with a garbage bag with a few items of clothes and sixty dollars I had stole from my grown son and I had been abused, brain washed, tortured beyond belief and yet I was expected to follow the law of having two years to heal from that and decide if I wanted to fight for any properties or compensation for all my injuries. I had left my abuser and still calling him seeking his approval for my choices in the first two years after I left! The laws are appalling!!!
According to canadianwomen.org;
In Canada seven point four billion dollars is paid from tax payers monies just for the aftercare of domestic violence victims.
Sixty seven percent of Canadians know at least one woman who have suffered physical or sexual abuse
Twenty six percent of women who are murdered by abusers had already left
Sixty four percent of battered women exhibits symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
So with all that I raise these questions; Why are we just concerned about other countries laws and rituals when we are in so much trouble in our own. I never had a daughter because she was the stillborn I suffered but I would be a little scared to hand her this country that moves so slowly when it comes to doing what is right.
We celebrate Canada being one hundred and fifty years old on July the first and I am proud of my country but we need to keep fighting for what is right and be more informed on what we have and what we need. It’s nice to help feed the hungry in other countries and march for the freedoms of women in the Middle East but don’t forget about us.