Break the Cycle, Break the Silence: Uniting Alberta against Gender-Based Violence - United Way Alberta Capital Region

Break the Cycle, Break the Silence: Uniting Alberta against Gender-Based Violence

November 8, 2023

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In the heart of Alberta, among the Rocky Mountains and sun-kissed prairies, are communities brimming with hope, resilience, and unity. Yet, behind closed doors, there is a challenge that one in three Albertans face in their lifetime — gender-based violence. Every survivor of gender-based violence is a neighbour, friend, and family member. 

Gender-based violence is based on gender norms and unequal power dynamics, perpetrated against someone based on their gender, gender expression, gender identity, or perceived gender. It takes many forms, including physical, economic, sexual, as well as emotional/psychological abuse. 

As community members, we all have a part to play in stopping gender-based violence.  

By bringing awareness to the prevalence of this issue, the signs that someone may be experiencing or perpetrating violence, and how to find help, we can come together to find paths away from gender-based violence.


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The shadow of gender-based violence 

In 2021, women and girls represented 69 per cent of family violence survivors in Canada (Statistics Canada). A staggering 70 per cent of cases are unreported to police, silenced due to fear, stigma, or simply not knowing where to turn. Nearly 60 per cent of Canadians know at least one woman who has been sexually or physically assaulted.  

The fight against gender-based violence in Alberta isn’t just about statistics or strategies; it’s about heartbeats, hopes, and solidarity. As Albertans, as a community, we have the power to change narratives. By learning how to recognize and respond to gender-based violence, we can ensure a safer tomorrow for everyone. 

Beyond the visible: Recognizing all forms of violence 

Violence doesn’t always leave a mark we can see. Many people, including those experiencing abuse, fail to recognize all forms of gender-based violence. 

Gender-based violence can include any word, action, or attempt to degrade, control, humiliate, intimidate, coerce, deprive, threaten, or harm another person.  

This can take many forms including cyber, physical, sexual, societal, psychological, emotional, and economic. Neglect, discrimination, and harassment can also be forms of gender-based violence.


Text 211 Now

The Heart of Our Community: Rural Areas and Their Unique Struggles 

While violence affects everyone, some people are more likely to experience gender-based violence because of systemic injustice and barriers, such as oppression, racism, homophobia, and ableism.  

In the quiet corners of rural, remote, northern, and Indigenous communities, where resources might be limited and isolation is felt deeply, the impact of abuse can be even more profound. Domestic violence incidents in these areas are reported to be up to 50 per cent higher than in urban settings.  

Break the Cycle, Break the Silence: Uniting Alberta Against Gender-Based Violence

Making the decision to seek help is an important step in stopping gender-based violence, but navigating the social sector is hard, especially for people who may be in crisis.

At the heart of our support system is 211 Alberta. This service is a critical resource for those seeking support for gender-based violence and embodies what we can achieve when we rally together.

211 Alberta is an initiative of United Way of the Alberta Capital Region, in partnership with Canadian Mental Health Association-Edmonton and Distress Centre Calgary, that helps Albertans find the right resource or service for whatever issue they need help with, at the right time.

211 Alberta: Paths away from gender-based violence

We know that for many people experiencing gender-based violence, leaving that situation isn’t the only thing they might need help with. But with 211 Alberta’s fulsome database of resources, we can help people address their needs in a holistic way, instead of in isolation.

Learn more about 211 Alberta and the resources available, visit


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Break the Cycle, Break the Silence: Uniting Alberta Against Gender-Based Violence