16 ways to end gender-based violence

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During the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign, learn about 16 ways you can help end gender-based violence (GBV). But don’t forget that you can help all year round, beyond the 16 days of activism!

  1. Acknowledge the problem. In Canada, 30% of women, 8% of men, and 59% of transgender and gender diverse people have been sexually assaulted at some point since age 15. That’s more than 11 million Canadians.
  2. Stop victim shaming/blaming. Generally, victims won’t report gender-based violence cases to the police because they feel they will be shamed by their families, friends, or the offender. 1 in 5 victims of sexual assault – both women and men – felt blamed for their own victimization.
  3. Be alert to non-physical violence. Not all gender-based violence is physical. Name-calling, stalking, harassment, control (including financial), cyber attacks, and manipulation are all forms of GBV. 43% of women and 35% of men in Canada have experienced emotional, financial, or psychological violence by an intimate partner at least once in their lifetime.
  4. Avoid gender stereotypes: Men and boys also suffer from unfair social expectations, like having to be tough and be the main breadwinner. Women can be CEOs, girls can build great things, men can cry, and boys can like pink, just to name a few.
  5. Challenge social norms. Research suggests that gendered language reinforces inequality and more regressive norms. Harmful social norms that sustain GBV include ideals for women’s sexual purity or protecting family honour over women’s safety. Don’t accept phrases like “boys will be boys” or “she was asking for it” as an excuse for negative or criminal behaviours.
  6. Remove negative stigma. 95% of sexual assaults do not come to the attention of police. A major reason is fear, shame, and embarrassment of being judged, blamed, or not believed. You can help end stigma by believing and supporting those who report being victimized by GBV.
  7. Educate youth. Generally, violence is a learned behaviour. Young people need to learn how to openly communicate in relationships so they can give and ask for consent, set boundaries, and speak up if they see or experience sexual violence. You can help by showing good behaviour, like being open about your own boundaries.
  8. Know the risks. The odds of experiencing violence are not the same for everyone. Young women and girls, Black and racialized women and girls, Indigenous women and girls, LGBTQ2 and gender non-binary individuals, women in Northern, rural, and remote communities, and people with disabilities are at much greater risk of experiencing GBV. Despite only accounting for 5% of Canada’s population, Indigenous women and girls represented 28% of female homicide victims in 2019.
  9. Know what to do if someone asks for help. Services for survivors are essential services. If there is immediate danger, call 9-1-1. In 2020-2021, over 1.3 million people in Canada accessed shelters, hotlines, counselling, and other supports and services for those affected by gender-based violence, even during lockdowns. The Government of Canada committed $300 million in extra emergency funding to help victim services organisations meet the increased demand that happened in parallel with COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.
  10. Engage men and boys. The majority of men and boys do not engage in violence against women and are needed as allies to help change the culture, where 6.2 million women (44% in 2018) experience at least one form of intimate partner violence in their lifetime. Men and boys can lead by example by rejecting violent behaviours toward women, girls, and non-binary people and being willing to speak out whenever they see violence or harassment directed at others.
  11. Recognize triggers. If you, your friends, or family are in a time of crisis, seek support and learn which local, regional, and national services for those affected by gender-based violence are available to help. Times of crises, like financial pressures from a job loss or a global pandemic, can increase the risk of GBV. One Ontario helpline reported a 400% increase in calls when the spring 2020 COVID lockdowns started.
  12. Take action. Don’t be a bystander. Learn safe ways you can intervene if gender-based violence is happening around you. In Canada, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 15 men experienced unwanted sexual attention in public.
  13. Promote gender diversity in workplaces. A lack of gender diversity in the workplace, particularly in leadership roles, can foster unsafe work environments that include harassment, like sexist jokes – a form of GBV. Women account for 47% of all occupational employment in 2020, but only 29% of senior management.
  14. Highlight positive role models. It’s important to see others who look and act like us succeeding. Role models that reflect a range of genders, ages, and ethnicities, such as community leaders, celebrities, athletes, Indigenous elders, or teachers, help engage youth.
  15. Support shelters. The most dangerous time for a victim of abuse is when they try to leave their abuser. Shelters have resources and training to help victims leave safely. In Canada, more than 6,000 women and children sleep in shelters on any given night. Data from 2018 suggests about 44% of women experience intimate partner violence.
  16. Put safety first. Do not stay in a dangerous situation if you can leave safely. Shelters can provide short-term housing, support, legal aid, and even financial help. Victim services can help you develop a plan, find ways to protect yourself, and help you get a non-criminal protection order to keep the person who abused you away from you. Among women who reported sexual assault in 2017, only 5% said the event they reported to police was the most serious they had experienced.

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Image 1 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Facebook and Twitter

Image 1 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Acknowledge the problem. More than 11 million Canadians have been physically or sexually assaulted since the age of 15.”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 1 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Instagram

Image 1 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Acknowledge the problem. More than 11 million Canadians have been physically or sexually assaulted since the age of 15.”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 2 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Facebook and Twitter

Image 2 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Stop victim shaming/blaming: 1 in 5 victims of sexual assault - both women and men - felt blamed for their own victimization. ”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 2 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Instagram

Image 2 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Stop victim shaming/blaming: 1 in 5 victims of sexual assault - both women and men - felt blamed for their own victimization. ”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 3 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Facebook and Twitter

Image 3 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Be alert to non-physical violence. 43% of women and 35% of men in Canada have experienced emotional, financial, or psychological violence by an intimate partner at least once in their lifetime.”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 3 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Instagram

Image 3 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Be alert to non-physical violence. 43% of women and 35% of men in Canada have experienced emotional, financial, or psychological violence by an intimate partner at least once in their lifetime.”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 4 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Facebook and Twitter

Image 4 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Avoid gender stereotypes. Women can work in trades, girls can build great things, men can cry, and boys can like pink, just to name a few.”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 4 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Instagram

Image 4 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Avoid gender stereotypes. Women can work in trades, girls can build great things, men can cry, and boys can like pink, just to name a few.”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 5 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Facebook and Twitter

Image 5 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Challenge social norms. Don’t accept phrases like “boys will be boys” or “she was asking for it” as an excuse for negative and or criminal behaviours. ”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 5 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Instagram

Image 5 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Challenge social norms. Don’t accept phrases like “boys will be boys” or “she was asking for it” as an excuse for negative and or criminal behaviours. ”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 6 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Facebook and Twitter

Image 6 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Remove negative stigma. 95% of sexual assaults do not come to the attention of police. A major reason is fear, shame, and embarrassment of being judged, blamed, or not believed.”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 6 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Instagram

Image 6 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Remove negative stigma. 95% of sexual assaults do not come to the attention of police. A major reason is fear, shame, and embarrassment of being judged, blamed, or not believed.”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 7 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Facebook and Twitter

Image 7 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Educate youth. Young people need to learn how to openly communicate in relationships so, they can give/ask for consent, set boundaries, and speak up if they see/experience sexual violence.”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 7 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Instagram

Image 7 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Educate youth. Young people need to learn how to openly communicate in relationships so, they can give/ask for consent, set boundaries, and speak up if they see/experience sexual violence.”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 8 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Facebook and Twitter

Image 8 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Know the risks. The odds of experiencing violence are not the same for everyone. Despite only accounting for 5% of Canada’s population, Indigenous women and girls represented 28% of female homicide victims in 2019. ”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 8 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Instagram

Image 8 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Know the risks. The odds of experiencing violence are not the same for everyone. Despite only accounting for 5% of Canada’s population, Indigenous women and girls represented 28% of female homicide victims in 2019. ”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 9 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Facebook and Twitter

Image 9 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Know what to do if someone asks for help. Services for survivors are essential services. In 2020-21, over 1.3 million people in Canada accessed shelters, hotlines, counselling, and other supports, even during lockdowns. If there is immediate danger, call 9-1-1. ”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 9 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Instagram

Image 9 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Know what to do if someone asks for help. Services for survivors are essential services. In 2020-21, over 1.3 million people in Canada accessed shelters, hotlines, counselling, and other supports, even during lockdowns. If there is immediate danger, call 9-1-1. ”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 10 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Facebook and Twitter

Image 10 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Engage Men and Boys: The majority of men do not engage in violence against women and are needed as allies to help change the culture, where 6.2 million women (44% in 2018) experience at least one form of intimate partner violence in their lifetime.”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 10 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Instagram

Image 10 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Engage Men and Boys: The majority of men do not engage in violence against women and are needed as allies to help change the culture, where 6.2 million women (44% in 2018) experience at least one form of intimate partner violence in their lifetime.”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 11 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Facebook and Twitter

Image 11 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Recognize triggers. Times of crises, like financial pressures from a job loss or a global pandemic, can increase the risk of GBV. One Ontario helpline reported a 400% increase in calls when the spring 2020 COVID lockdowns started.”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 11 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Instagram

Image 11 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Recognize triggers. Times of crises, like financial pressures from a job loss or a global pandemic, can increase the risk of GBV. One Ontario helpline reported a 400% increase in calls when the spring 2020 COVID lockdowns started.”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 12 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Facebook and Twitter

Image 12 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Take action. In Canada, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 15 men experienced unwanted sexual attention in public. ”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 12 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Instagram

Image 12 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Take action. In Canada, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 15 men experienced unwanted sexual attention in public. ”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 13 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Facebook and Twitter

Image 13 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Promote gender diversity in workplaces. Women account for 47% of all occupational employment in 2020, but only 29% of senior management.”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 13 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Instagram

Image 13 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Promote gender diversity in workplaces. Women account for 47% of all occupational employment in 2020, but only 29% of senior management.”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 14 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Facebook and Twitter

Image 14 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Highlight positive role models. Find role models that reflect a range of genders, ages, and ethnicities. It’s important to see others who look and act like us succeeding.”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 14 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Instagram

Image 14 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Highlight positive role models. Find role models that reflect a range of genders, ages, and ethnicities. It’s important to see others who look and act like us succeeding.”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 15 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Facebook and Twitter

Image 15 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Support shelters. In Canada, more than 6,000 women and children sleep in shelters on any given night. Data from 2018 suggests about 44% of women experience intimate partner violence.”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 15 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Instagram

Image 15 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Support shelters. In Canada, more than 6,000 women and children sleep in shelters on any given night. Data from 2018 suggests about 44% of women experience intimate partner violence.”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 16 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Facebook and Twitter

Image 16 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Put safety first. Among women who reported sexual assault in 2017, only 5% said the event they reported to police was the most serious they had experienced. Do not stay in a dangerous situation if you can leave safely. Shelters can provide short-term housing, support, legal aid, and even financial help.”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

Image 16 of 16 of the social media campaign
Text version – Instagram

Image 16 of 16 of the 16 Ways You Can Help End Gender-Based Violence social media campaign. The text on the image reads “Put safety first. Among women who reported sexual assault in 2017, only 5% said the event they reported to police was the most serious they had experienced. Do not stay in a dangerous situation if you can leave safely. Shelters can provide short-term housing, support, legal aid, and even financial help.”. The Canada wordmark appears in the left bottom corner.

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