PBI-Canada observes the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
Today is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. We remember that on December 6, 1989, fourteen women at the École Polytechnique in Montreal were murdered because of their gender.
Author-activist Judy Rebick has commented: “I think [what happened on December 6, 1989] was both an act of terrorism and an extreme form of the violence women face every day. The best way to remember these fourteen women is recommit ourselves, women and men, to the fight for women’s liberation and an end to violence against women.”
About 238 women are murdered every day around the world.
United Nations human rights expert Dubravka Šimonović recently called for the universal establishment of national initiatives to monitor and prevent femicide.
In Canada, direct federal funding to women’s organizations is less than 0.01% of total federal program spending and lack the secure, multi-year core operational funding needed to work for the protection of all women.
Šimonović made her call for national initiatives just prior to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25.
Peace Brigades International projects in Colombia and Mexico accompanied marches that took place that day in Yondó, Antioquia and Mexico City.
PBI-Mexico commented: “We express concern over the current crisis of femicides and disappearances and remember the obligation of the authorities to ensure the safety of women, journalists and defenders.”
PBI-Guatemala accompanies the TzK’at Network of Ancestral Healers of Community Feminism which was formed in the context of political risk for Mayan and Xinca women who came from experiences of territorial defence opposing mining licenses, the logging of forests, the presence of hydroelectric dams on rivers, and cement plants.
TzK’at says: “When a megaproject is implanted in a territory, it is as if they penetrate your body in a sexual violation. This is how we feel. …In addition, we run the risk of being sexually abused by the company’s workers.”
We also remember that the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls determined that “state actions and inactions rooted in colonialism and colonial ideologies” are in part responsible for the thousands of Indigenous women and girls who have been murdered or gone missing in Canada.
That report described this as a Canadian genocide.
Sharon McIvor, Pamela Palmater and Shelagh Day have written: “Discrimination against Indigenous women is as old as Canada. It is a marker that defines Canada as a colonial, patriarchal nation-state.”
It is within this context that we recognize the risks faced by Indigenous women land defenders within this country opposed to megaprojects including the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline on Wet’suwet’en territory, the Trans Mountain tar sand pipeline on Secwepemc territory, and the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam on Innu lands.
PBI-Canada is committed to a vision of a world free of violence. We stand in solidarity with women impacted by gender-based violence and with all who strive to end femicide, discrimination, harassment, and hate.