Saturday, December 4, 2010

December 6 - National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

Every year on December 6th we gather to commemorate the Montreal Massacre of 1989, and we reflect on the issue of violence against women in our society.

It deeply saddens me that gender based violence is so prevalent in our society. It's one of those things that if you don't experience it yourself, you may not realize how common it is. But it's happening all around us: about one in four Canadian women will experience sexual assault in her lifetime. On average 178 women are murdered each year in Canada. As a comparison, 153 members of the Canadian Forces have been killed in the eight years we've been serving in Afghanistan (numbers current as of Dec. 4/2010).

Because so many assaults happen in the home, they are invisible to the public and thus easily ignored. The privacy and silence around gender based violence is one of the major reasons why it continues to exist at such high rates. Furthermore, many women who experience violence may not even consciously admit to themselves that they are experiencing it: they make excuses for their abuser, blame themselves or feel they deserve to be abused. But nobody deserves it, nobody asks for it, and nobody wants it.

Violence against women does NOT just affect the woman – it impacts the entire society. The social and economic costs of violence against women are enormous and have ripple effects throughout society. Women may suffer isolation, inability to work, loss of wages, lack of participation in regular activities, and limited ability to care for themselves and their children. Their children, family and friends also suffer in immeasurable ways.

On December 6th we remember our fallen sisters and we call for an end to gender based violence.

University of Calgary's December 6th Memorial Ceremony
Mon. Dec 6, 2010. Noon - 1:00 p.m.
Great Hall, The Rozsa Centre, University of Calgary

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