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Two-thirds of Canadians know a woman who has experienced assault: Poll

Abbotsford News - 12/3/2023

While two-thirds of Canadian know a woman who has faced emotional, physical or sexual assault, awareness of that abuse varies by gender.

That's according to a new poll from the Canadian Women's Foundation released Thursday (Nov. 30). Overall, 65 per cent of Canadians know a woman who has faced abuse. But broken down by gender, 69 per cent of women surveyed know a woman who has experienced assault, compared to 61 per cent of men.

Canadian Women's Foundation CEO Paulette Senior said that data shows that women carry a greater load of abuse awareness.

"Abuse survivors may feel more comfortable to disclose to women. It's also likely that women, girls, and Two Spirit, trans, and non-binary people are more attuned to abuse risks as they personally deal with it daily."

While the poll focused on Canada as a whole, B.C.'s resources on gender-based violence, sexual assault and domestic violence notes that an average of 20,000 women experience violence by a partner each year.

The 2021 Statistics Canada census also noted that B.C. reported a large increase in sexual assaults.

One-in-five people say they are very confident in supporting someone who has been physically assault, but confidence levels among the 18-to-34-year-old group has dipped since 2021.

About 44 per cent of women face abuse from an intimate partner in their lifetimes, and women are about five times more likely than men to be sexually assaulted and more likely to be sexually harassed at work.

Digital gendered hate and abuse has also become more of a concern, which comes as their are increased calls for for the Canadian government to table an online harms bill.

The poll says that 88 per cent of Canadians believe changes are needed to make online spaces safer for everyone, with 58 per cent of women in agreement.