Everyday Violence in the Lives of Youth
Speaking Out and Pushing Back
Though interpersonal violence is widely studied, much less has been done to understand structural violence, the often-invisible patterns of inequality that reproduce social relations of exclusion and marginalization through ideologies, policies, stigmas, and discourses attendant to gender, race, class, and other markers of social identity. Structural violence normalizes experiences like poverty, ableism, sexual harassment, racism, and colonialism, and erases their social and political origins. The legal structures that provide impunity for those who exploit youth are also part of structural violence’s machinery.
Working with Indigenous, queer, immigrant and homeless youth across Canada, this five-year Youth-based Participatory Action Research project used art to explore the many ways that structural violence harms youth, destroying hope, optimism, a sense of belonging and a connection to civil society. However, recognizing that youth are not merely victims, Everyday Violence in the Lives of Youth also examines the various ways youth respond to and resist this violence to preserve their dignity, well-being and inclusion in society.
Helene Berman, RN, PhD, is a distinguished university professor emerita at the University of Western Ontario and a fellow in the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Her program of research, funded by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (cihr), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (sshrc) and Status of Women Canada, has focused on the subtle and explicit forms of violence in the lives of girls and young women. In recent years, she has extended that work to include boys and young men. With a lengthy history of community-based research, Dr. Berman played a lead role in the establishment of the Centre for Research on Health Equity and Social Inclusion and serves as the Centre’s founding academic director.
Catherine Richardson/Kinewesquao is a Métis counsellor specializing in violence prevention and recovery. She lives on the territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation and is an associate professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Montreal. Dr. Richardson is a co-founder of the Centre for Response-Based Practice. Her recent research projects relate to violence prevention with Indigenous youth, women and families. She is the author of Belonging Métis and co-editor of Calling Our Families Home: Métis Experiences with Child Welfare and Failure to Protect: Moving Beyond Gendered Responses. Her work has influenced the development of dignity-driven practice in the Child and Family Services of New South Wales, Australia. She is involved in Indigenous community projects and was twice a delegate to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. She is co-authoring a forthcoming book related to Métis social policy.
Kate Elliott, bsn, mph, md, is a member of the Métis Nation of Greater Victoria. She has a passion for Indigenous youth engagement and traditional beadwork. Elliott possesses an undergraduate degree in nursing and a master’s in public health and social policy from the University of Victoria. Elliott is completing her residency in Indigenous Family Medicine at the University of British Columbia.
Eugenia Canas, PhD, uses participatory and ethnographic approaches to understand how youth perspectives affect the delivery of health services. She is a founding member of the Centre for Research on Health Equity and Social Inclusion (crhesi), which is dedicated to knowledge generation and translation through partnerships between academia and community organizations. Canas served as National Youth Advisory Board co-coordinator in the Voices against Violence project from 2011 to 2017 and is a post-doctoral associate with the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario.