“The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.” Quote by William Ross Wallace
I was a tomboy growing up. My brother helped raise me and since he always wanted a little brother, or a dog, he raised me as his kid broth.., I mean sister. While he was several years older than me, he did his best to teach me the ropes in life.
At the time I thought it was mostly about being one of the boys, but as I grew older I realized it was more about empowering me to be the best woman I could be. He taught me equality of gender. He taught me the importance of respecting women, through his actions.
I come from a strong family that believes in empowering women. My father left his native South Asian home in his teens to search for a better future for his family. While I was growing up there was nothing I could not do. Sometimes that is all it takes; to empower the women in your life.
Women all over the world are abused, victims of rape and in some parts, little girls are buried alive. Abuse affects women (and men) of all ages. It is not always physical. Sometimes even well-educated, out-spoken women are silent victims of abuse, be it psychological or emotional.
Each year, over 40,000 arrests result from domestic violence, that’s about 12% of all violent crime in Canada. Only 22% of all incidents are reported to the police, so the real number is much higher.
I recently met a very courageous woman. She migrated to Canada with her then-husband almost twenty years ago. She did not know anyone. She shared the story of how she fled her abusive relationship with two small children, four years and nine months old at the time, with only the clothes on their backs. She recounted that she did not know what abuse was. She knew what was happening did not feel right, but did not realize that it was not allowed in her new country. She did not realize she had a choice. She had a choice.
As women, we do not realize the strength we have.
While it is important to commemorate this day and to use it as a platform to spread awareness of the atrocities that are being committed, it is so much more than that. I encourage every single one of you to help empower the women in your lives. Too often we fall victim to what society thinks of us, what we ought to be and what we are told we can accomplish. As women there is nothing we cannot accomplish. We have a choice.
The Amal Centre of Montreal is a Montreal area women’s shelter. They have created the Purple Bow Tie Campaign aimed at encouraging boys and men to embody ideals of dignity, kindness and respect in their relationships with the various women in their lives.
This video strikes a chord dear to my heart as it features members of my own family. I could not be prouder to share it with you.
On any given day, 3,000 women are living in shelters in Canada, along with 2,500 children. They are there to escape domestic violence.
The time is now. Make a difference in the lives of the women around you, educate them, and empower them. We can all make a difference.