Recognizing gender-based violence against women
On December 6, 1989, 14 women were murdered at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal simply because they were women. Due to these murders, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women in Canada is held on the anniversary of the event. It is a time to remember the victims, and a day to reflect on what changes we can make to reduce the violence against women that is still present in Canadian society and around the world.
Besides the National Day of Remembrance and Action of Violence Against Women, the months of November and December are important for raising awareness about gender-based violence. The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is on November 25, and it marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence that ends on December 10.
The National Day of Remembrance and Action of Violence Against Women is not only meant to be recognized by women; it is important that all Canadians come together on this day to discuss the effects of gender-based violence on our loved ones, our communities and our country. Men and people of all gender identities are also affected by sexual violence; however, it affects women at a higher rate with one in three women expected to experience sexual violence in their lifetime.
It is especially important that the StFX and Antigonish community recognize the National Day of Remembrance and Action of Violence Against Women due to recent events on campus. As of November 24, two men are facing or have pending charges against them related to sexual assaults that occurred in residence, with two complainants coming forward. To come up with solutions that will reduce these instances on campus, it will require discussions about sexual violence and what the community can do to support the survivors of sexual violence.
The community of Antigonish is taking part in the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence this year by inviting leaders from StFX and the community to speak out against sexualized violence. Every day leading up to December 6, they will be releasing a statement from one of these leaders and what actions they plan to take to end sexualized violence. The statements will be shared on the Antigonish Women’s Resource Center and Sexual Assault Services Facebook page and under the hashtag nomoreantigonish on social media.
StFX students can also learn about what steps they can take to reduce and end sexual violence by taking the 'Bring In The Bystander' programming. The program covers bystander intervention techniques, the culture around sexual violence, and how to recognize sexual violence. Bring In the Bystander can either be taken through the StFX Students' Union or the Antigonish Women’s Resource Center and Sexual Assault Services.
If you would like to find out more about the National Day of Remembrance and Action of Violence Against Women or about sexual violence, or if you are in need of resources yourself, the following contacts are useful:
Antigonish Women’s Resource Center and Sexual Assault Services: 902-863-4558
Halifax YWCA: 902-423-6162
StFX Health and Counselling Center: 902-867-2263
Breaking the Silence: http://www.breakthesilencens.ca/