December 6, 2021 – On this National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada, we take time to honour those who have lost their lives to gender-based violence. We also recommit ourselves to taking action to ensure that women and girls can live lives free from violence.
Today, we remember the fourteen women killed in a misogynist act of terror at l’École Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989. We remember:
- Geneviève Bergeron;
- Hélène Colgan;
- Nathalie Croteau;
- Barbara Daigneault;
- Anne-Marie Edward;
- Maud Haviernick;
- Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz;
- Maryse Laganière;
- Maryse Leclair;
- Anne-Marie Lemay;
- Sonia Pelletier;
- Michèle Richard;
- Annie St-Arneault; and
- Annie Turcotte.
Thirty-two years have passed, yet violence against women and gender-based violence remain tragically common. In 2020, 160 women and girls were killed in Canada – representing one woman or girl every two-and-a-half days.
Gender-based violence disproportionately impacts those facing multiple intersecting grounds of oppression. Indigenous women are six times more likely to be killed than non-Indigenous women. Women with a disability are almost twice as likely as women without a disability to experience violent crime and sexual assault. A third of trans and non-binary people of colour reported having been sexually assaulted, compared to a quarter of non-racialized trans people.
This reality is unacceptable. Women, girls, and gender-diverse people have the right to be free from violence. They deserve to have their dignity respected and to feel secure.
We call on federal, provincial, and territorial governments to take steps to implement the Roadmap for a National Action Plan on Violence Against Women and Gender-Based Violence. Governments must also prioritize the implementation of the 231 Calls for Justice from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Moving forward, LEAF will continue to speak out against violence against women and gender-based violence, and to advocate for the substantive equality of women, girls, and gender-diverse people.
About Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF)
The Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) is a national not-for-profit that works to advance gender equality in Canada through litigation, law reform, and public legal education.
Since 1985, LEAF has intervened in more than 100 cases that have helped shape the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, responded to violence against women and gender-diverse people, pushed back against discrimination in the workplace, allowed access to reproductive freedoms, and provided improved maternity benefits, spousal support, and the right to pay equity.
LEAF understands that women and gender-diverse people in Canada experience discrimination in different ways, and builds partnerships across communities to inform our understanding of how race, gender identity, sexual orientation, (dis)ability, class, and other intersectional identities underlie legal structures that perpetuate inequality, discrimination, and harm.
To support our work to protect the equality rights of all women, girls, and those who experience gender-based discrimination please consider donating today.