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16 days of activism to become an ally in the fight against gender-based violence

La Boussole is partnering with Réseau-Femmes Colombie-Britannique and inform'Elles for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Against Women and Girls. The campaign runs from November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) to December 10 (Human Rights Day).


During these 16 days, La Boussole and its partners will relay daily tips to become a better ally in this fight on social networks (Facebook - Instagram). We offer you this publication to concentrate all these tips.


Enjoy reading it!



1) Get informed

November 25th, marks the first day of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. Each day, we will give you the keys to be a good ally against this persistent violence.


In order to address sensitive issues such as gender-based violence, or even feminism as a whole, it is essential to get informed in the right way. Read books, listen to podcasts, talk to people around you who are also learning about these subjects, watch movies and series and consult reliable sources of information such as official websites: sosviolenceconjugale.ca, informelles.ca, aocvf.ca, femaide.ca



2) Get trained

To reinforce what you have learned, it is important to start the process and get trained. A multitude of organizations offer numerous training courses, often free of charge, which allow you to better understand feminist issues such as gender-based violence. How to act and react in the event of a violent situation with a loved one, what actions to take, what words to use, etc. It is necessary to be adequately trained to deal with situations of violence. You can watch this webinar given by community guides on gender-based violence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7vPr1wdSO8



3) Becoming aware of your privilege

Becoming aware of one's privilege means learning to put oneself in the other person's shoes and asking "What if it were me?" Facing up to the realities experienced by others is an important and long-term task. The collective "Ni putes ni soumises" (Neither whores nor submissive) has made a short video in which a man dresses up as a woman and faces the street harassment that women can experience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjDaJQEevPU

Finally, when we become aware of our privilege, we must be prepared to give it up.



4) Deconstructing your stereotypical education

To deconstruct one's stereotypical upbringing, it is essential to identify one's prejudices. This step can be difficult because it requires introspection. The first step is to list the negative thoughts you may have about a group of people. You may want to familiarize yourself with the GBA+ (Gender-Based Analysis) tool, which will help you address systemic barriers.



5) Avoiding judgments

When a woman shares her story, listen to her without giving your opinion on the situation, without making assumptions, or questioning the reaction of the woman who is talking to you. Not second-guessing the woman is essential in the process of becoming a good ally.


6) Educate those around you

Now that you are aware of the fight against gender-based violence, you can educate your friends and family about it. This can be done through small actions that can be useful: informing your friends of the existence of a hotline, intervening in sexist situations, letting your friends know that you are there to listen to them...


7) Reclaiming those around you

It can sometimes be difficult to take back your friends at the risk of being seen as the sanctimonious person in the group. However, this is a crucial step on the road to becoming a better ally. Challenging those around you about problematic words or behaviors is a way to show your understanding of the importance of gender inequalities and a concrete and militant act to change things.


8) Improving Your Workplace Culture

To engage in work practices that actively combat sexism, it is important to understand how your behavior may be part of the problem. It's about questioning yourself, taking stock of how you behave. Then, set up awareness workshops with your teams or ask your management about sexual harassment policies in the workplace. Let women know that they are in a safe space. The AJEFCB Workplace Aggression Policy has some great tools to combat sexual harassment in the workplace: https://ajefcb.ca/hst/


9) Being a good listener

Being an ally also means being humble and supportive, being aware of one's position as a privileged person, and letting the people who are most affected speak.


10) Believing the victims

"I believe you." These few words may seem insignificant, but they are important in a world where women's voices are constantly questioned and their actions are constantly judged. Victims' voices must be heard and that means believing them, without delay or condition. #Ibelieveyou


11) Do not underestimate what seems trivial

An "unfortunate" word, an "inappropriate" gesture... These interactions may seem harmless, but they are the visible face of an oppressive system that makes women an object that men can dispose of as they please. From feelings of discomfort to memories of trauma, not to mention a potential harassment situation, you never know what may be behind these behaviors. Let's stay vigilant.



12) Putting your ego aside

When a woman talks about the problems she has with men, she is not necessarily talking about you. So when you are picked up on problematic behavior, take it as constructive criticism. Patriarchy is a global system that is difficult to break. Accept the criticism and try to become a better ally in your daily life.



13) Trust women's experiences and voices

Assume that a woman will be able to define sexism or gender-based violence better than you. If a woman identifies sexist actions or violence, do not contradict her.


14) Accepting uncomfortable conversations

You may be taken to task in conversations that question your privilege. Despite the unpleasant effect this may have, accept these moments and don't think you are not part of the problem.


15) Actively support the fight

If you can afford it, donate to feminist associations, bloggers, activists... These are the movements that allow women to speak out, to feel safe and therefore to start systemic changes.


16) Take action!

Whether in the street, at work, on the Internet or at school, if you witness sexist remarks, inappropriate jokes or gestures, insults, harassment or physical and/or sexual violence: take action!


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