It is every woman’s fundamental right to live in safety and security in her home and community – free from the threat of violence. TThis grand sentiment is so far from the reality for many women living in Canada and around the world today.
Canadianwomen.org has complied facts and statistics about how we, in Canada, are doing in supporting women who are facing violence. Here is an excerpt:
- On any given day in Canada, more than 3,300 women (along with their 3,000 children) are forced to sleep in an emergency shelter to escape domestic violence. Every night, about 200 women are turned away because the shelters are full. 4
- Each year, over 40,000 arrests result from domestic violence—that’s about 12% of all violent crime in Canada.5 Since only 22% of all incidents are reported to the police, the real number is much higher.
- As of 2010, there were 582 known cases of missing or murdered Aboriginal women in Canada.6 Both Amnesty International and the United Nations have called upon the Canadian government to take action on this issue, without success.7,8 According to the Native Women’s Association of Canada, “if this figure were applied proportionately to the rest of the female population there would be over 18,000 missing Canadian women and girls.”9
Read more here.
We have a lot to do and a lot to rebuild since many programs that support women are running on fumes because of the defunding of programs by the Harper government. People across Canada will be coming out to stand up against violence against women as we commemorate the Montreal massacre on December 6th. The new Minister of Status of Women Canada, Patty Hajdu, has received her mandate letter. Her top priorities have been identified as developing and implementing a comprehensive federal gender violence strategy and action plan, supporting the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs to develop a process and mandate for an inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls, and growing Canada’s network of shelters and transition houses.
Over the past year the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and the University of Western Ontario have published a report on the impact of domestic violence in the workplace and the CLC has launched an online domestic Violence Resource Centre that contains tools and strategies for unions and their members to build awareness and to improve workplace safety. The labour movement will be lobbying for better legislation regarding domestic violence that includes paid leave and improved occupational health and safety regulations.
The Canadian Network of Women’s Shelters and Transition Houses (CNWSTH) in collaboration with 20 partners a;so developed a Blueprint for Canada’s National Action Plan.
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (link is external) has worked diligently to raise attention to the alarming number of Indigenous women and girls that have gone missing or have been murdered in the past decades. Along with raising awareness, NWAC has supported the families who have suffered from the loss of their loved ones. They have called on, with the support of many organizations, the federal government to conduct a national inquiry. They are stressing that an inquiry must include input from the families.
There is a lot going on to rebuild our ability to support women. On December 6th, go to a vigil in your community, light a candle and support some of these initiatives.
OAITH Wrapped in Courage Campaign
The Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH) has launched a new public awareness campaign, called Wrapped in Courage. OAITH is asking everyone to buy a purple scarf in support of ending violence against women and children in Ontario from their local shelter.
White Ribbon Campaign
This is the largest effort in the world of men working to end men’s violence against women. Each year, men and boys in Canada are urged to wear a ribbon starting on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women until December 6, Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign
This is an international campaign linking violence against women to human rights. The 16 Day period links two significant dates: November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and December 10, International Human Rights Day. Also included in the 16 days are November 29th, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day; December 1st, World AIDS Day; and December 6th, the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. The calendar of events planned in 2015 is an inspiring read because there are events happening everywhere. Find out more about this great global initiative.
YWCA Rose Button Campaign Each year, the YWCA Canada produces and distributes Rose Buttons to mark December 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
YWCA Canada has been the national distributor of the Commemorative Rose Button since 1991. Wearing the button helps to commemorate the young women students who were killed at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal, as well as all women and girls who have died as a result of violence against women. It is also shows support to all the women and girls who have experienced violence or who are currently facing violence.
The Rose Button Campaign is a fundraising opportunity for individuals, groups and organizations that support anti-violence programs and services. Buttons can be ordered through the YWCA.
Each year, Status of Women Canada produces an information kit for individuals and organizations wishing to raise awareness and take action against violence against women. For more information, and to find out about related events in your community, please consult the Status of Women Canada website
First mourn, then work for change
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