Women's rights are human rights. This simple idea needs acknowledgement here at home and globally if we are ever going to eradicate gendered violence.
By Doreen Nicoll
Published December 01, 2014
November 25 was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Actress Teri Hatcher spoke to members of the United Nations about the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her uncle as a child.
November 25 was also the official launch of 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women, which concludes on December 10: International Human Rights Day.
This is extremely significant because women's rights are human rights. This simple idea needs acknowledgement here at home and globally if we are ever going to eradicate gendered violence.
On Saturday, December 6, vigils will be held across Canada to mark the 25th anniversary of the murder of 14 female engineering students at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. On that day in 1989 a lone gunman began his reign of terror when he entered a classroom of 60 engineering students.
He separated the women from the men and ordered the men to leave the room. The murderer was heard to scream, "I hate feminists," before killing these innocent women: Anne St-Arneault, 23; Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klueznick, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 22; Sonia Pelletier, 23; Michèle Richard, 21; and Annie Turcotte, 21.
In the past quarter century how far have we come to eliminating gendered violence in Canada? To answer that question we need only look to our Aboriginal sisters. In October 2014 Amnesty International took the Canadian federal government to task over the lack of a National Public Inquiry into murdered and missing Aboriginal women:
International human rights standards require every government to take all reasonable action to prevent violence against women. Governments that fail to do so bear some of the responsibility for the harm that could otherwise have been prevented.
A series of United Nations resolutions, supported by Canada, call on all states to put in place "systemic, comprehensive, multisectoral and sustained" national action plans, with the direct involvement of affected communities, and a clear financial commitment to implementation. This is the international human rights standard by which Canada's response to violence against Indigenous women and girls should be measured.
Sadly, Canadians as a collective have a long road ahead of us when it comes to eradicating gendered violence here at home.
Please show your solidarity with Canadian, and international, women and girls during these 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women. Take your children to a vigil; write letters to your MP and MPP demanding a public inquiry into our murdered and missing Aboriginal Women; wear an orange scarf to keep warm; and listen to the song 'One Womana.'
Then, forward this amazing song to three friends. This number is significant as 1 in 3 women will experience gendered violence in their lifetime.
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