On December 6, 2013, LEAF recognizes the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada. LEAF remembers those who have died as a result of gender-based violence and reflects on the daily reality of women who face gender-based violence. We remember the fourteen women who were singled out and murdered because they were women at the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre: 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 is committed to challenging all forms of discrimination against women through legal action, public education, and law reform under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
LEAF urges the Government of Canada to take a leadership role in seeking to create advances to protect women from all forms of violence whether it is physical, sexual, psychological or economic.
We join our allies and ask the Government of Canada to commit to developing a comprehensive National Action Plan to End Violence against Women in Canada and launch a national inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women.
LEAF has previously asked the Canadian government to include the following operational provisions in the text of the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution on violence against women:
- Providing access to a comprehensive package of services that are essential to survivors of sexual violence such as access to emergency contraception, safe abortion, post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV infection, and diagnosis and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.
- Providing comprehensive sexuality education to youth, which challenge gender stereotypes and norms and promote gender equality, therefore contributing to eliminating all forms of gender-based violence, stigma and discrimination.
- Reviewing abortion laws and regulations that restrict or deny access to safe abortion in cases of pregnancy resulting from rape.
Studies continue to show that many young people, particularly women and girls, will personally face discrimination in one form or another during their lives. In particular, the incidence of violence against women and children continues unabated.
Young people who know their rights and their responsibilities under the law are less likely to become victims – or perpetrators – of violence. LEAF believes that a necessary step in this learning process is for all young Canadians to learn about the Charter’s equality provisions. That is why LEAF is committed to its education programs: LEAF at Work and No Means No.
On this National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, we at LEAF are united in our determination to make this country a safe and equal place for all women and girls.