TW: Includes mentions of abuse and assault

“That all of us, men and women are victims of the circumstances from which the colony has created.”

– Women Talking, Dir. Sarah Polley, 2022

Violence in our society, especially gender-based violence, is not simply the fault of those who committed the crime. The blame lies, not only with the perpetrators but with those who continue to defend, excuse and enable them. This blame lies innately within our society itself, from our parents to our community leaders and, sadly enough, the justice system as a whole. It is our compliance and unwillingness to acknowledge these darker parts of our society, like gender-based violence, that render us incapable of holding the perpetrators accountable, and preventing any other cases from occurring.


While Gender-Based Violence certainly happens to both men and women, it is an undeniable fact that women experience it more frequently. WHO states that “1 in 3 women worldwide have been subjected to either physical and/or sexual intimate partner/non-partner violence,” with Gender-Based Violence occurring in women 38% more frequently than in men. With how frequently gender-based violence occurs, one has to ask themselves why and how it continues to happen. While it’s somewhat impossible to name a singular reason, and even more, to state a reason with certainty, we cannot deny one of the largest reasons: societal standards and ideologies.

The notion that “boys will be boys” is the largest contributor to the allowance of violence that we, as a society, unintentionally and continuously permit. “Boys will be boys” is a green light, removing all consequences from the violence that these temperamental “boys” commit. It implies that we shouldn’t be too hard on them for these “violent impulses,” as it is well within their nature. However, to remove all blame at such a young age in which their “violence” does not often lead to long-term damage to others, is to build the expectation in these “boys” that their violence will continue to be excused in adulthood. As a consequence, they become more comfortable with their violence as they’ve never been held responsible for it. This “glorification” of violence, coupled with the disregard society tends to harbour towards women and their experiences, crafts a dangerous combination. 


Gender-Based Violence in itself references violent acts that target a certain group based on gender. Oftentimes, it is an attempt to assert power and dominance over whoever the target is, which, as mentioned above, is often women. The target frequently being women can be linked back to the disregard society often has towards women. A simple fact is, we live in a patriarchal society, made for men, by men. The ideologies that this societal system promotes are feminine subordination and male domination. Women are seen as the weaker, counterparts to men and it isnatural and acceptable for men to have more power than women.”  As a result, we see some men exercising this “power” that they hold over women, often through the use of violence. This can result in sexual violence, physical assault and verbal assault, all violent acts these “boys” use to reassert their power over the group society tells them they’re so much “better” than.


To refer back to the film, “Women Talking,” which acknowledges this very issue of society permitting the violence of men against women, a single idea is often repeated in the beginning. “But we caught them…Then why are you making it so complicated?” This introduces another issue aside from the idea that “boys will be boys.” In which, in a society built by men, for men, it becomes increasingly harder to implicate them as a woman. This is once again due to the high level of disregard with which women are so often treated. We see this reflected most often in the court of public opinion, the internet.

The amount of allowance the public allows these “boys,” did not become apparent until the #METOO movement. It was during this movement that we witnessed firsthand, to reiterate, the disregard we as a society have for women. During this movement and to this day, women talked about the gender-based violence they had endured, namely, sexual violence. However, as these women discussed their experiences and the impact they had on their physical and mental well-being, we witnessed many people continue to support their abusers. They claimed that it was important to “separate the person from the art.” However, it is this very rhetoric that once again prevents the perpetrators from owning up to their actions and understanding their ramifications. It is this that allows Gender-Based Violence to continue to thrive without much consequence and for the perpetrators to grow comfortable with this idea of violence. Because, at the end of the day, “boys will be boys,” why wouldn’t they be forgiven?

Resources for Sexual Assault and Family Violence:

AASAS: (call: 403-237-6905 ext 3 or email:

Alberta – Family Violence Support: (info line; call/text: 310-1818)

Native Counselling Services of Alberta: (call:+1 (780) 451-4002 or email:

University of Alberta Sexual Assault Centre: 780-492-9771

Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters: 1-866-331-3933

Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (SACE) Support & Information Line: 780-423-4121

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About the Author

Hi! I'm a blog writer for WEW at the uofa! I'm in my first year majoring in biology and love consuming any forms of media I can: music, reading and movies, I love them all! I hope you enjoy my blogs and come back to WEW to read more!