International Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
posted on December 5, 2017
Since 1991, December 6th has been recognized across Canada as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. The day was founded in recognition of the lives lost on December 6th, 1989, when 14 women were shot and killed at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal by a man who specifically targeted them because they were women, before turning his gun on himself. The killer claimed in a suicide note that feminism and feminists had ruined his life, standing as a chilling reminder of the ways in which women are and remain targets for violence in both private and public spaces.
This act of gender based violence still holds the unenviable title of the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history, and has since sparked an initiative to remember not only the lives of the women lost that day, but also to recognize the continued impact of violence against women in Canadian society.
The National Day of Remembrance, also referred to as White Ribbon Day, asks that people take a moment to reflect on the issue of violence against women across Canada and to make a commitment to fight for the rights of women and girls whose daily experience of violence continues into the present day.
Organizations like the Canadian Women’s Foundation work year-round to ensure that women can escape from immediate danger and rebuild their lives in the aftermath of violence. They fund over 455 women’s shelters across Canada and help in the counselling for children who have witnessed or experienced violence to prevent them from becoming abusers themselves.
Of particular concern within Canadian society is the increased risk of violence that Indigenous women face across the country, as rates of murder in this demographic are six times that of non-Indigenous women.
Cost is an often overlooked aspect of the problem of violence against women. Estimates from the Department of Justice suggest that Canadians spend $7.4 billion annually dealing with the aftermath of spousal abuse alone, before even taking in the life-long effects of trauma in the lives of those affected.
While like other forms of violent crime in Canada the rates of domestic violence against women is falling, due to social factors such as increased funding and awareness campaigns as well as women’s growing influence in workplaces and resulting financial independence, the fact of violence against women is still an active threat to the well-being of women and girls.
This December 6th, a nation will against take time reflect upon the ways that our society has been affected by violence against women and make efforts to continue taking steps forward to help raise awareness and build a safer society. You can learn more about violence against women by visiting the Canadian Women’s Foundation website here, and read facts regarding sexual assault and harassment here.
Also, follow this link to Shelter Safe’s website to see what resources are available in your area. If you, or anyone you know, are in immediate danger, tell them it is important that you call 911.
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