By: Gail Gallagher
National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women (Dec. 6th)
On this day, we remember the innocent lives lost and of the murder of 14 young women at Polytechnique Montréal on December 6, 1989. As a result of this tragic event, December 6 was designated as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
In addition, the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence begins on November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) and ends on December 10 with International Human Rights Day. The 16 Days of Activism are an opportunity to come together to speak out and renew our commitment to end gender-based violence.
As a survivor of domestic violence, this date is personal to me. Close to 10 years ago, I left an abusive situation, which led to me becoming homeless for a short period of time. Looking back, why I ended up in an abusive situation was a combination of low self esteem, a pattern I had in my relationships and intergenerational trauma I went through as a child. Being a daughter of a First Nations day school survivor, I witnessed many acts of violence during my childhood.
During the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, gender-based violence in Canada increased, as often victims were isolated with their abusers in the home. Indigenous women are six times more likely to be killed than non-Indigenous women. Due to intergenerational trauma, caused by colonization, it is a root cause of domestic violence in Indigenous communities and families. Women with a disability are almost twice as likely as women without a disability to experience violent crime and sexual assault.
Women who live in unhoused situations also face high rates of gender based violence as they live in vulnerable environments. One report shows 37% of the homeless women interviewed reported being physically assaulted in the past year, and 21% reported being sexually assaulted.
What can you do to end gender-based violence and be an ally? On this day, you can attend a vigil, wear a white ribbon, wear a MooseHide campaign pin or a Red Dress pin which represents the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada. Read the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Inquiry final report. It contains 231 calls to action, developed from extensive consultation with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities across the country. Ending gender-based violence is everyone’s responsibility. Be a part of making our communities safer for women and gender-diverse people today.
If you are in a vulnerable position, please seek help.
If you are in an emergency situation, access 9-1-1 (in Canada), for emergency services in your area.
If you are outside the 9-1-1 service area, please access available emergency services in your area.
- To access emergency services or call a crisis line in your area: click on this link to access a crisis line in your area.