Vancouver - The following is a statement from Irene Lanzinger, president of the BC Federation of Labour, on the National Day of Remembrance and Action Against Violence Against Women:
“Today marks 28 years since the killing of fourteen women at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal.
These women were killed because of the prevalence of sexism in our society. December 6 became the National Day of Remembrance and Action Against Violence Against Women as a result of this tragic and senseless killing, known as the Montreal Massacre
Over the past year the issue of violence against women has been at the forefront of public attention in workplaces, and in communities across BC and across the globe. We have seen the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls begin to take shape, the hashtag #Metoo go viral, and the countless stories of women who have been brave enough to come forward to tell their stories of being sexually assaulted or harassed on the job.
The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has brought forward the stories of survivors of violence, as well as the stories of many women who did not survive. The level of violence faced by Indigenous women is four times that of non-Indigenous women in Canada. We must be vigilant in ending this violence, while taking our lead from the communities affected.
The hashtag #Metoo has placed a spotlight on the types of abuse that women face in almost every aspect of daily life. And the exposure of sexual assault and harassment in the workplace has taken new prominence, especially in the entertainment and media industries, as countless women have come forward to tell of the abuses they’ve faced.
Through participation in initiatives like the Be More Than a Bystander campaign, the labour movement is working to challenge and change the culture that allows for this type of abuse.
The BC Federation of Labour is committed to ending violence against women at work, in our communities and in our social circles. Together we can ensure that this moment in time marks a major culture shift in society.
On this Day of Remembrance and Action, we must remember the 14 women who were killed in 1989 and all women and girls who have been the targets of violence. We must consider the women and girls for whom violence is still a daily occurrence.
This day should serve as an opportunity to re-commit to the challenges ahead. We must become a society that does not tolerate violence against women, and that respects women as equal.”