Remembering December 6 continues to be an important exercise for Canadians. Though there is no excuse for not considering how violence impacts the lives of Canadian women every single day, it’s crucial that we remain appropriately horrified when someone kills a woman just for being a woman.
But there are other ways violence against women is perpetuated in this country.
In today’s Star, journalist Catherine Porter raises the increasingly important issue of gun control in our country, and how screening process for licenses and tracking of guns contributes to fewer gun-related domestic violence deaths.
People don’t have to look far to see how domestic violence has affected their lives. For me it was a cousin, killed by her abusive husband in 2001, an act that changed our family forever.
But even when gun violence isn’t the immediate threat, Canadians are confronted with issues surrounding the status of several groups of women, where violence is perpetuated through stereotypes and racism, bad laws, and short-sighted social planning.
More than 3000 women are living in a shelter situation to escape domestic violence daily. The elimination of the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit disproportionately affects women because this benefit explicitly provides supports for women fleeing their home due to abuse. Without a replacement for this support, countless women will be left with few options to escape abuse and may remain trapped in violent situations that all too often end in tragedy.
Canada’s new immigration regulation requiring sponsored spouses to stay in their relationships for two years or risk deportation effectively traps women in abusive situations, or lose their status.
Last, our shameful legacy in Canada of missing and murdered Indigenous women continues to raise concerns not only about whether or not we value the health, lives and safety of women in this country, but also about which women.
December 6th is a day of remembrance and an opportunity to remind those who need to be reminded that violence against women comes in many forms and persists at a terrifying rate. For the rest of us, it encourages us to continue to work together toward ending violence against women in this country and to create communities where equality, justice, humanity and health thrive.