On December 6 we recognize the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, a time to honour the countless women throughout Canada and around the world who are victims of violence in their lives, including the 14 young women at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal who were murdered in 1989 because they were women.
Violence takes on many traumatic and heartbreaking forms. Canadian teenagers Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons both committed suicide in the past year after facing relentless bullying and harassment by their peers; three brave women from Ohio endured ten years of captivity and ongoing verbal, physical and sexual assault at the hands of their kidnapper and aggressor before their rescue earlier this year; and two or three Aboriginal women are reported missing or murdered every month.
These are awful tragedies and statistics show they aren’t isolated incidents. In separate studies, Statistics Canada found that half of all Canadian women have experienced physical or sexual violence, more than 3,000 women stay in shelters on any given night to escape abuse, and young women are most at risk to be victims of violence.
This is a problem we need to call attention to, not just on December 6, but each and every day of the year. We need to make sure our elected politicians denounce violence against women and fight for their health and safety on an ongoing basis. We need to offer support to women in our lives who may need it. And we need to talk about these issues publically, so people understand the importance.
PSAC Sisters met last month at the PSAC National Equity Conferences to discuss issues like these and makea commitment to political action in the fight for human rights. PSAC will continue to be at the forefront of women’s rights and justice.