In Ontario, November is Woman Abuse Prevention Month. This month, we shine a spotlight on the pervasive violence against women and girls in Canada and around the world, and pledge that OPSEU/SEFPO will continue to speak out against these crimes.
This month, we also acknowledge the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25) and spread the word of the White Ribbon Campaign, a solidarity campaign that calls on all men and boys to support survivors of this violence and prevent all forms of it from continuing.
The statistics about violence against women are appalling – half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16; more than one in 10 Canadian women say they have been stalked by someone in a way that made them fear for their life; and each year, over 40,000 arrests result from domestic violence, just to highlight a few.
And these statistics are far from the full picture. We’ve all heard stories from women of violent incidents they’ve faced – fear they’ve endured. These incidents happen every day, and we cannot and should not let crimes like this continue to happen.
Gender-based violence can include domestic abuse, sexual abuse, human trafficking, child marriage, street harassment, and so many more human rights violations that the women around us face. Much of this violence is unreported because of stigma and shame. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused additional problems as studies have found there was increased domestic violence during this year’s lockdown and other restrictions.
OPSEU/SEFPO’s Provincial Women’s Committee has been a strong voice in speaking out against gender-based violence and organizing activities to raise awareness. We enthusiastically support those efforts.
We all need to do our part to end gender-based violence and support the women and girls around us in achieving freedom from this form of oppression. Sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and all forms of oppression and discrimination have absolutely no place in our communities. As OPSEU/SEFPO leaders, we commit that we will never condone it.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU/SEFPO President
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer