“Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It also marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence in Canada and around the world,” said Status of Women Minister Patty Hajdu in a statement from Ottawa.
“These 16 days remind all Canadians of the awful reality that women and girls face violence and the threat of violence on a daily basis. They include December 6th, Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. On this solemn occasion, we remember the tragic murder of 14 cherished young women at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal in 1989 who were killed because they were women.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also released a statement this morning. In it he reminds us that one in three women around the world experience violence in their lifetime. “It is crucial for all of us — women, men, and youth — to work together to put an end to this violence.
“Violence against women is the world’s greatest and most persistent violation of human rights, leaving women and girls vulnerable and unable to fully participate in society. It damages families, communities, and countries.
“Violence against women is not a women’s issue. Men must boldly work alongside women to combat this violence — and not simply because they have wives, daughters, or sisters. Women deserve the full depth of respect, safety, and dignity, regardless of their relationships with men.
“To change the prevalence of this violence, we must first challenge the attitudes and behaviours that allow this violence to exist, and that allow disrespect for and abuse of women to become commonplace. We must teach our daughters and sons the importance of gender equality and the need to treat everyone with equal respect.
“That is why the Government of Canada is investing in several programs both in Canada and around the world to help promote gender equality, support efforts to prevent gender-based violence, and stop human trafficking.
“Today and throughout the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, I encourage all Canadians not only to think about how their actions matter, but also to stand up against gender-based violence. Get started by joining the conversation online using the hashtag #ActionsMatter. Together, we can create a world that does not tolerate violence against women.”
Hajdu concluded: “The Government of Canada is challenging all Canadians to think about ways we can stop gender-based violence in our homes, schools, and communities now and throughout the year. With small steps we can end gender-based violence once and for all.”
This year’s theme for the 16 Days of Activism is #ActionsMatter.