Student Advocate Says Windsor Can Be Unsafe, Teaches Self-Defence Classes at UWindsor

Student Advocate Says Windsor Can Be Unsafe, Teaches Self-Defence Classes at UWindsor

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I am passionate about social justice, community, photography and poetry. I chose to go into the Journalism program at UWindsor because I love to tell stories and ask the questions that matter.

“This is a man’s world,” sang James Brown in 1966, and according to the report, The Best and Worst Places to be a Woman in Canada 2016, Windsor is a man’s city too. The report was done by Kate McInturff and released in October with the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women. In a total of 25 cities surveyed across Canada, the report ranked Windsor at the very bottom, naming it the worst place to be a woman.

Marisa Bratt is in her third year at the University of Windsor double majoring in Social Work and Women’s Studies. Bratt works as a Program Facilitator for the Enhanced Assess, Acknowledge, Act Sexual Assault Resistance Program at the University of Windsor. She says she was not shocked when she heard Windsor was ranked last.

“I was not surprised. I think there is a lot of combining factors that effect how women are treated in this area.” Said Bratt.

The study focused on the lack of women representation in key decision making roles like on city council. It also focused on the economic security between men and women. According to the report, men outnumber women 2 to 1 among senior managers. Also, just over half the adult female population (53%) have a job, women’s incomes are 74% of men’s incomes on average, one in four women (24%) are living below the Low Income Measure, and men’s poverty rates fall well below those of women at 15%.

“I think Canada overall is an advanced nation. Women are more equal here than they are in most countries such as the United States. I think that we are so close to the U.S that we are definitely influenced by them since we’re surrounded by their media and we interact with them a lot.” Said Bratt.

Human trafficking is a factor that Bratt thinks has affected the wage gap between women and men. Sex work is very prominent in the city of Windsor according to many reports done in the Windsor Star. In an interview with the Windsor Star for an article, Windsor police spokesman, Sgt. Steve Betteridge was asked how prevalent sex trafficking is in Windsor. Betteridge said the crime is “borderless,” difficult to measure, and often underreported.

“A lot of times we don’t consider sex a work force but it is since it is not illegal to be a prostitute in Canada, but it is illegal to pay for sex. So I don’t think we consider the women that are in those industries, that that is still a work place for them and they are treated very poorly because we want to ignore that women do these things.” Said Bratt.

Bratt is very passionate about speaking out about sexual assault and sexual violence. She is a strong advocate at the University of Windsor, informing all students about safety and their rights. 

Sometimes, Bratt does not feel safe in the city of Windsor.

“Now that I know self-defence, I do feel safe because I think I can feel safe in any situation, but previously I did not feel safe in Windsor,” Said Bratt. “I have been sexually harassed more often in Windsor. I have had guys be more aggressive to me like following me on the street and yelling at me from cars.”

Bratt is unsure if she will get her dream job of being a social worker and councillor for victims of sexual assault after she graduates, but she knows that she will not stop spreading the message of exercising your rights as a women to the women of Windsor.

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