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December 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, was established by Parliament in 1991. Observed across the country with vigils, memorials and other ceremonies, the day coincides with the date in 1989 when 14 women were murdered at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. They were killed because they were women.
Beyond commemorating the loss of these young women’s lives, this day represents a time to pause and reflect on the tragedy of violence against women and girls in our society. Every year, hundreds of women in Canada are seriously injured or killed at the hands of an intimate partner.
It is also a time to reflect on how changes in our society can affect the lives of women who face violence. Decisions like the elimination of the federal gun registry, the de-funding of women’s organizations, decisions not to adequately address women’s poverty, the crises in affordable housing and child care, and decisions to attack our charter rights – all of these contribute to an ongoing culture of violence against women.
The austerity agenda being pursued by the provincial government is causing cuts to the very programs that would help. The government’s attacks on workers’ rights to determine their working conditions through free collective bargaining also contributes to less safe workplaces. The majority of CUPE members are women, and collective bargaining is one of our strongest tools for creating workplaces that are free of harassment and violence.
In our communities, we can all help to end the violence. Here are just a few ideas:
On December 6— attend an event/vigil in your community. Click here to find an event in your community cupe.on.ca
After December 6 – raise awareness about violence against women. Write letters to your MPP and local newspapers letting them know why their budget cuts are hurting women, fight to protect gun registry data through the Coalition for Gun Control (guncontrol.ca), and talk with politicians and co-workers about how you can use your collective bargaining rights to create safe workplaces.
And on December 6th and everyday let us not forget…
- Genevieve Bergeron was 21 years old
- Helene Colgan was 23 years old
- Nathalie Croteau was 23 years old
- Barbara Daigneault was 22 years old
- Anne-Marie Edward was 21 years old
- Maud Haviernick was 29 years old
- Barbara Maria Klucznik was 31 years old
- Maryse Leclair was 23 years old
- Annie St-Arneault was 23 years old
- Michele Richard was 21 years old
- Maryse Laganiere was 25 years old and was a CUPE member
- Anne-Marie Lemay was 22 years old
- Annie Turcotte was 21 years old
- Sonia Pelletier was 23 years old