On December 6, 1989, a lone gunman murdered 14 women at Montréal’s École Polytechnique, and injured 10 others simply because they were born women. As difficult and heart-wrenching it is to think someone could take so many innocents based on their gender, we must face the fact that we continue to have a crisis of violence in Canada.
On December 6th each year, we remember our 14 sisters whose lives ended so violently, along with all who have suffered and are suffering gender-based violence.
On this The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, it is also important to remember that COVID-19 has made the violent circumstances many women live with each day even worse. Many women, and their children, have become more isolated as a result of unemployment, underemployment, or illness related to the pandemic, making them even more vulnerable.
“The Canadian statistics on violence against women, girls, 2SLGBT (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) and gender diverse individuals show that we have much work to do”, shares UFCW 401 Secretary Treasurer Richelle Stewart. “We must continue to work toward a day when no one experiences barriers to leaving abusive situations and can live free from fear and harm.”
In addition to the devastating effects of the pandemic, we know that a staggering 30% of all women and girls aged 15 or older have experienced sexual assault. Women with disabilities are particularly vulnerable and are 3 times more likely to be victims of violence compared to those living without disability. And shockingly, Indigenous woman are nearly 7 times more likely to be killed than non-Indigenous women and girls.
“UFCW 401 President Thomas Hesse and I will continue to do all we can, not only to shine a light on these horrific statistics so we don’t lose sight of the crisis, but to also foster education and create supports and pathways so we can see an end to gender-based violence,” Stewart promises. “With a combination of knowledge, advocacy, and support, we can create the change we are seeking.”
Anyone finding themselves in an emergency situation should contact 9-1-1 for emergency support in your area.
If you are outside of the 9-1-1 service area, you can get help by contacting:
Family Violence Info Line
Phone: 310-1818 (multilingual services available)
Those in other provinces can find crisis support by clicking HERE
Other supports for those suffering gender-based violence can be found HERE
The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 401 is Alberta’s largest private-sector union with 32,000 members working in diverse sectors of the Alberta economy, including food processing, retail, education, entertainment, healthcare, and hospitality.
Posted on: December 05,2021