Violence against women
Louisette Hinton, CURC Executive Member, pictured above with Barb Byers, CLC Secretary-Treasurer
by Louisette Hinton
This is an issue in which we will still be active this year. December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the murders of the École Polytechnique in 1989, when 14 young women lost their lives.
At our meeting of the CLC Women’s Committee in Winnipeg, Sister Barbara Byers, newly elected as Secretary-Treasurer of the CLC, reminded us that the issue of violence against women will be part of the 20th anniversary of the 4th World Conference on Women and the adoption of the Declaration and Beijing Platform for Action.
This is an issue that is still relevant and unsolved. Here are a few points of the Declaration of the CLC:
• The sexual assault and domestic violence rate remains high in Canada. 1.8 million Canadian women reported a case of such violence in the last 5 years.
• Most current federal policies to combat violence against women are not gender-specific. These policies include the initiative in the fight against domestic violence, the Federal Victims Strategy and the National Action Plan against trafficking in persons. None of these policies focus exclusively on violence against women.
• The federal government has no independent policy on domestic violence or sexual assault, and Canada has no national action plan against violence against women.
• The problem of violence is particularly acute in the case of Aboriginal women and girls in Canada, who are subject to a higher rate of violence; thee times more than non-Aboriginal women and girls in Canada.
• Violence against Aboriginal women and girls in Canada is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. This investigation was initiated under the Optional Protocol to CEDAW at the request of the Native Women's Association of Canada and the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action. However, the federal government has continued to turn a deaf ear to the call, which enjoys a growing support through a national enquiry on violence against women specifically for Aboriginal women and girls.
The CLC is encouraging everybody to support the YWCA’s Rose Campaign as part of the December 6 activities this year, and in particular, to participate in their Light the Night Against Violence action on December 6. On this night, they are asking organizations and communities to light their buildings, monuments, and landmarks to help support the call for an end to violence against women.
The CLC will be lighting their national headquarters in Ottawa and we challenge affiliates, federations of labour, labour councils and local unions to do the same.