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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

February-26-98

Canadian Women Safer in Streets Than in Homes

Canadian women are safer in the streets than in their own homes. Dr. Peter Jaffe testified before a Canadian inquest on domestic violence, reporting that women are 13 times more likely to be attacked by current or past partners than by a stranger on the street. Women are nine times more likely to be murdered by their partner than by a stranger, and an average of two to three women are killed by their spouses every week in Canada, said Jaffe.

Jaffe, a London, Ontario psychologist, said that a survey of 12,300 women over age 18 reported that 29% had been physically or sexually abused at least once. “It’s a painful number,” he said.

Jaffe attributes the widespread domestic violence to men who grew up in families in which violence occurred. Jaffe said that 75% of abusive men witnessed their fathers beating their mothers. Sixty percent of children who witness assaults suffer from some post-traumatic stress disorder or psychological effect, he said.

Jaffe reported on meetings he had with children between the ages of 5 and 12, whose views on domestic violence were “distorted.” He also testified that some girls he had spoken to had been told that if date rape did not happen during school hours or on school property, the school would not investigate the claims.

Jaffe testified that domestic violence issues need to be dealt with when potential abusers are young. “We spend time on reading, writing and arithmetic, but not on healthy relationships.”

Domestic Violence Information Center

Media Resources: Toronto Star - February 19, 1998


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