OPSEU Provincial Women's Committee

Standing in Solidarity Sisterhood against Gender Based Violence

16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence

Join OPSEU’s Provincial Women’s Committee in spending the next 16 days (Nov. 25 to Dec. 10), to remember and reflect on gender-based violence.

The UN General Assembly issued The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women in 1993. It defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

For women’s rights activists the observance of November 25 holds other significance. It was selected to honor the Mirabal sisters, Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa, three political activists from the Dominican Republic who were murdered on Nov. 25, 1960.  The country’s ruler, Rafael Trujillo, ordered the women killed for their fight against his regime for gender equality.

The 16-days of Activism against Gender Violence, will end on December 10, International Human Rights Day.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says it saddens him that women and young girls have to continue to fight for what is a basic human right, their safety.

“No woman or girl should be living in fear for their life,” said Thomas. “OPSEU will continue to stand with our sisters in fighting and condemning gender-based violence.”

December 6, 2019, will mark the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre in which 14 women were killed.  The attack at Ecole Polytechnique changed the way we looked at gun crimes in Canada. It showed that violence against women was very real. The mass murder will forever be a call for action to eliminate gender-based violence.

The Montreal Massacre fostered national debates around violence against women and the need for tougher gun laws in Canada. It inspired two women, Hedi Rathjen and Wendy Cukier, to form the Coalition for Gun Control. The coalition’s efforts helped bring about the 1995 adoption of Bill C-68, the federal firearm-control legislation.

Bonnie Eddy, Chair of the Provincial Women’s Committee, pledges to remain committed to raising the awareness of violence that women and girls face every day.

“It saddens us to know that women and girls continue to suffer. We will not go unheard or unseen anymore,” said Eddy.

The Provincial Women’s Committee honours the memory of the young women who died on December 6. The PWC will continue to shine a spotlight on violence against women and girls in Canada and around the world.

OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida says the union is committed to doing everything in its power to help women threatened by violence.

“Violence of any kind against women is unacceptable,” says Almeida. “OPSEU members will always stand together in opposing gender-based violence.”

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