I think the differential is very much based on inequality. If you start out in a less equal position, you end up in a less equal position, even though the law is supposed to apply equally.
In terms of the economic disadvantage, the sexual disadvantage, and the fact that we don't have violence against women and girls taken seriously, whether in individual violence or not, despite efforts being taken by various parties and governments, the only time it seems to get attention paid to it is when it's an attempt to “responsiblize”, if I can use that term, the victims; that is, they have to learn ways to avoid being victimized.
If we took that approach in any other area, it would never be accepted. We wouldn't take that approach to property violence or to other areas. I use the example, when I'm talking to law students in my classes, that if we treated violence against women, in particular violence against indigenous women, the way we treat property violence, people would be up in arms. We would see a drastic change, because it would impact people who have greater power in terms of personal resources and influence to actually change it.
The more marginalized you are and the more unequal you are, the less likely it is you'll have your needs taken care of, and neither will you have your victimization taken seriously by the state. A woman or a girl who reports that something has happened, in a community where it has never been taken seriously, where the police have always been an intervention that harms as opposed to assists, has that legacy.
The reality is that we need more exposure of that. There's a presumption that everybody is equal and everybody has equal application and protection of the law, but I can tell you, after 30 years of doing this, there's no way that is true. If that were true, we would not have the jails full of indigenous people. We would not have the jails full of poor people. We would not have women being the fastest growing prison population in a context where we know that's not who we're at greatest risk from.