National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

For Immediate Release:

OTTAWA (December 6) – Today, the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) remembers Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte and Barbara Klucznick Widajewicz. As we reflect on the lives of these 14 women who were tragically killed in the École Polytechnique massacre 22 years ago, we are reminded that gender based violence is an ongoing reality in Canadian society. We are also called to action – to do all that we can to bring an end to violence against women and girls.

While some important steps have been taken to address gender based violence in Canada, we continue to live in a society where many women experience domestic abuse and sexual assault every day. Some women are more vulnerable to violence, as evidenced by the currently unsolved murders and disappearances of more than 600 Aboriginal women.

This year’s day of remembrance and action is particularly important, as the federal government is now poised to dismantle the long gun registry. The registry, which was part of a response to the École Polytechnique massacre, is an important public safety tool that has contributed to the prevention of gun violence, particularly against women and children.

“CFUW is very disappointed that the Government of Canada has refused to listen to public safety experts and women’s organizations, who have all insisted on keeping the long gun registry”, said Brenda Wallace, CFUW National President. “The government has even refused to allow reasonable amendments, such as restricting certain firearms, and reinstituting the requirement that merchants keep records of sales and check the validity of licenses. If Bill C-19 passes, the Canadian government could be putting many lives at risk”.

CFUW believes that Canada must look for comprehensive solutions to help address the root causes of gender based violence, such as poverty, inequality and misogyny. We must also maintain certain safeguards like the long gun registry that help police remove weapons from dangerous people.

This December 6th we remember the lives of the 14 young women who were senselessly murdered at Ecole Polytechnique because they were women. We go forward as we continue to fight against the inequality and beliefs that created the violence twenty-two years ago – and the violence that continues to take place against women.

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For more information contact: Robin Jackson, CFUW Executive Director at executivedirector@cfuw.org or 613-234-8221 ext. 102

CFUW is a non-partisan, voluntary, self-funded organization of close to 10,000 women university graduates, students and Associate Members in 112 Clubs across Canada that works to improve the status of women and human rights, education, social justice, and peace. CFUW holds special consultative status with the United Nations (ECOSOC) and belongs to the Education committee of the Canadian Sub-Commission to UNESCO. CFUW is the largest of the 61 affiliates of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW).

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