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National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

December 6, 2020

Geneviève Bergeron

Hélène Colgan

Nathalie Croteau

Barbara Daigneault

Anne-Marie Edward

Maud Haviernick

Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz

Maryse Laganière

Maryse Leclair

Anne-Marie Lemay

Sonia Pelletier

Michèle Richard

Annie St-Arneault

Annie Turcotte

On December 6, 1989, a mass shooting at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal cut short the lives of these 14 young women. Their deaths shook the country, and led Parliament to designate December 6 as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

Today, we wear white ribbons in remembrance and reflection. As we honour the memory of those young women who lost their lives more than 30 years ago, it is important to reaffirm our commitment to eliminating violence against women, girls, LGBTQ2, and gender diverse individuals throughout our country. The levels of violence and discrimination they continue to face is unacceptable:

  • Women have a 20% higher risk of being victimized by men.1
  • Indigenous women experience violence at a rate 2.7 times higher than that reported by non-Indigenous women.2
  • Between 1,000 and 4,000 Indigenous women and girls are missing and murdered in this country.3
  • Women living with physical and/or cognitive impairments are 2 to 3 times more likely to experience violence than women living without such impairments.4
  • Senior women are 24% more likely than senior men to face family violence.5
  • Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.6
  • Northern Saskatchewan has the highest rate of violent crime against young women and girls in the country with a rate of 13,886 victims per 100,000 people.7

In Canada and around the world, gender-based violence – particularly domestic violence against women and girls – has been magnified and amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Police services, shelters, local organizations, and helplines have all reported an increase in calls pertaining to gender-based violence during the pandemic.

Given these facts, December 6 must be more than just a day of remembrance and reflection. It must also be a day of action. Gender-based violence prevents full and equal participation in public life, it damages women’s mental and physical health, has a negative effect on the economy, and is detrimental to the fabric of our society.

We all have a responsibility to make our province, our country, and the world a better place. We must learn from our past, listen to survivors, raise awareness, and develop concrete, sustainable plans that will address and prevent violence against women and girls. It is up to us to create a society that fosters respect, inclusion, and equality for all.