On the evening of October 4th 2009, we stood with friends holding candles in the darkness on Parliament Hill. We were attending the Sisters in Spirit Vigil, one of 72 gatherings across the country to honour the lives of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. Women came together to remember, to grieve and to share their stories of personal loss. Families held up pictures of their loved ones and spoke of their unending pain.
Women stand together at vigils, we march together in memory of stolen sisters, we walk together on the streets of our towns and cities and we take back the night. We mark days on the calendar to commemorate the losses and we become activists for women’s rights. These are acts of self-preservation, ignored by our governments, law enforcement agencies and the media. In a society that is increasingly hungry for “reality television,” there is little appetite for news of the daily reality of violence against women. Here are some of the facts about violence against women in Canada:
The statistics are staggering. So where do we start? What can we do as women to advocate for our sisters and ourselves? We’re already doing great work, but we must do more. Whenever there is an opportunity to address violence against women, we must seize that opportunity. Attend rallies and events, march with your sisters, write letters to your representatives and exercise your right to vote. Consider organizing a Local Women’s Committee to take on the cause. Women united are a powerful force.