The Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) recognizes the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada. It is crucial to acknowledge this day, especially in the distressing climate of sanctioned misogyny following the US presidential election. Today we reflect on the daily realities of women who face gender-based violence. We remember the fourteen women who were singled out and murdered at the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre because they were women: Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte and Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz. LEAF also remembers the women and girls who were killed in 2016, including Sara Baillie and her daughter, Taliyah Marsman, and Elana Fric-Shamji.
Many women die from intimate partner abuse. Abuse survivors rarely reach out to disclose what is happening to them, and in many instances where they do seek help, they do not receive adequate responses. This must not be tolerated. LEAF will continue to work hard to end violence against women in Canada.
LEAF made a significant impact in 2016, intervening in key sexual assault cases and complaints — the most notable include R v. Barton (the Cindy Gladue case), and the inquiry into Justice Robin Camp. LEAF also joined the call for a strong mandate for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and LEAF’s Legal Director, Dr. Kim Stanton, was appointed to the Federal Advisory Council on Gender-based Violence.
Violence against women, including femicide, is distressingly common in Canada. Each incident requires a concerted response. LEAF is part of that struggle but we can’t do it alone. We must all come together to put an end to violence against women. On this National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, join LEAF in its commitment to make this country a safe and equal place for all women and girls.
Since 1985, LEAF has been committed to challenging all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls through litigation, public education, and law reform under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. For more information visit www.leaf.ca or contact us at [email protected] or 416.595.7170 or toll-free 1.888.824.5323.