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Educating Ourselves

Violence issues are complex – there is always an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.

Strive to understand the systems issues to surface the ways we can work together for collective impact. This section of the website provides tools and definitions that support learning along the BBWON strategic directions.

  1. Feminism and other Big Picture Factors provides context on why violence against women is a global issue.​
  2. ​​Truth and Reconciliation Commission – Call to Action
    At the Fall 2015 Forum, participants recommitted to supporting our indigenous sisters and brothers. One way we can do that is to educate ourselves about Truth and Reconciliation and our shared history of colonization and oppression.


BBWON is committed to feminist, anti-racist, anti-oppressive values and principles.


Feminism is ‘being for women’ and gender equality. Feminist theory focuses on analyzing gender inequality. Themes explored in feminist analysis include discrimination, objectification (especially sexual objectification), oppression, patriarchy, stereotyping, art history and contemporary art and aesthetics.


The feminist focus on ending violence against women and children does not exclude men as allies and should not imply that the wellbeing of men is not also important. Gender inequality and the intersections with all types of identity-based discrimination is the common issue. Work needs to be done to build bridges between different groups working for inclusive social and economic change that addresses oppression in all of its forms. More sophisticated perspectives push us to look beyond violence as a strictly individual phenomenon to see that inequities and oppression are structured into society. Men can be feminists. With or without a feminist frame, men working toward peace, gender equality and social justice are potential allies.


ARAO is used as an umbrella term that includes activities, practices, policies, ways of thinking, and initiatives that address oppression in all its forms (e.g. racism, homophobia, classism, ageism, ableism). Key to anti-oppression is an understanding that inequality and oppression exist in the world, and that all of us participate in unequal power dynamics in a variety of ways. Anti-oppression involves reflection and making choices about how to give, share, wield, or withhold power to assist and act in solidarity with people who are marginalized. Anti-oppression is sometimes used with the terms equity and acessibility: Anti-oppression is a broader term that includes a commitment to equity and accessibility. See both equity and accessibility.

See OCASI website:


A common analytical technique employed by feminist researchers is intersectional analysis, which maintains that gender cannot be accessed by itself but must be studied in conjunction with other forms of identity. The linkage between gender, race, and class has been increasingly explored, but other aspects of identity, notably sexuality, age and ability have been examined as well in relation to gender. BBWON is committed to inclusion that acknowledges women who are LGBTQ, have disabilities, are older, are immigrants and refugees and/or indigenous are more vulnerable to violence because of their identity.



Patriarchy is a social system in which males hold primary power, predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property; in the domain of the family, fathers or father-figures hold authority over women and children. Most cultures in the world have been based on fundamental patriarchal tenants that assume women are inferior and should be subservient to men. Patriarchal values can be seen in things like the wage gap between men and women, lower pay scales in sectors predominantly comprised of women workers (social services, food services, childcare), and the unequal ratio of male-female leaders in top positions in most sectors. Attributing greater value to only half of the human species has caused untold suffering to both women and men. In a 2014 study of data from the World Health Organization found that men in the world’s most patriarchal societies have higher mortality rates than those living in places with greater gender equality and have a better chance of living longer in societies where women are equal to men, according to researchers.

(and what does that have to do with violence against women)

Unregulated capitalism is the uncontrolled growth of investment wealth. For example, banks are able to charge 20% on credit card debt because there are no regulations to limit them. When you hear people talking about the 1% they are talking As wealth flows up the social system to a small number of people, poverty presses down on the masses. When people cannot meet their own survival needs, violence rates go up and the most vulnerable of citizens, women and children and other marginalized peoples, suffer most. See:

(and what does that have to do with violence against women)

"Neo-liberalism" is a set of economic policies that have become widespread during the last 25 years, often ascribed to ‘Reganomics’ under U.S President, Ronald Regan. Think Regan, Thatcher, Harris and Harper, leaders who ascribe to a neo-liberal agenda that includes the privatization of public services, defunding and austerity - all of which combine to press down on the most vulnerable people. Indigenous peoples and single moms with kids are our poorest citizens.

The effects can be clearly seen as the rich grow richer and the poor grow poorer. Neo-liberalism supports unregulated capitalism as the expression of a ‘free market’ that will self-regulate. The economic crash in 2008 revealed the widespread and ongoing corruption that has followed from neo-liberal ideology and unregulated capitalism. Neo-liberalism ignores gender inequality and social injustice and can be seen in policies that neutralize the language of gender based violence. See: and

The ecological framework (World Health Organization)

The ecological framework is based on evidence that no single factor can explain why some people or groups are at higher risk of interpersonal violence, while others are more protected from it. This framework views interpersonal violence as the outcome of interaction among many factors at four levels—the individual, the relationship, the community, and the societal.



Participants at the 2015 BBWON Fall Forum called again on VAWCCs to support our indigenous sisters and brothers in their demand for the national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and also to support the Truth and Reconciliation recommendations specifically with tangible actions.

VAWCCs can take important steps to support these calls to action by educating ourselves and our member agencies. Every VAWCC member should be aware of the issues specific to our indigenous peoples. A PowerPoint presentation has been created for VAWCCs as an introduction to issues and links to resources. (hyper link to PPT)

The TRC Spent six years travelling Canada to hear from Aboriginal people taken from their families as children and placed in residential schools. Over 6000 witnesses and survivors told their stories.

The focus on truth determination was intended to lay the foundation for reconciliation. Now that we know, what can we do?

  • Educate ourselves – understand our shared history
  • Build relationships in our communities
  • Respect-recognize traditional territories
  • Support Indigenous leadership
  • Participate and/or host Sisters In Spirit vigils on Oct 4
  • Support the Aboriginal VAW Strategic Framework
  • Invite local indigenous leaders to join VAWCCs