Margaret Mitchell, a former MP who became a leading voice in raising awareness about male violence against women died last week. She was 92. In 1982, Margaret created a national debate when in the House of Commons, she called out male MPs who jeered making jokes while she raised the issue of violence against women, chastising those MPs and calling it “no laughing matter”.
We gathered for our annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner last Wednesday and since we had just learned of her passing, we paid tribute to her. It wasn’t lost on us that she passed on International Women’s Day.
Women’s liberation and the work to end violence against women is a thread woven deeply in all aspects of our human experience. Since our inception, at Battered Women’s Support Services we understood that the change we seek in the world will only be achieved with participation from all segments of our communities. So we bring women and girls together around a shared vision because we are stronger together as women are on the leading edge of change all the across the lands.
We found this archival video of Margaret Mitchell when she stood up to speak truth to power.
Speaking truth to power is represented here by Trina Qaqqaq, Inuk from Baker Lake, Nunavut giving an emotional speech in Parliament, calling on non-Indigenous allies to own their role in colonization and address the systemic issues that contribute to Indigenous youth suicide.
In a time of “overwhelming stigma” and Islamophobia in this video Srosh Hassan stands in the House of Commons to speak truth about what it’s like to be a 21-year-old Muslim woman of colour.
Black Lives Matter is a movement born in Ferguson, Missouri growing out of police brutality and has chapters all across the globe. In this video, women, femme and trans members of Black Lives Matter – Vancouver Chapter go live on Facebook to address the necessity of intersectionality in social change efforts.
“Little has changed in society to stop the violence against women since I spoke out in the House of Commons many years ago. Your efforts are greatly needed and appreciated.” ~ In Sisterhood Margaret Mitchell former Member of Parliament Vancouver East said in a written message at BWSS 35th anniversary commemoration in 2015.
Every 5 days a woman in Canada is killed by her male partner. Each year in BC, more than 30,000 women and children affected by male violence are referred to violence against women counselling and outreach programs. In addition, more than 18,000 women and children access transition houses and safe houses to escape violence or abuse. As well, an average of 2326 women were admitted to a BC hospital for severe injuries sustained by a male partner.
Our volunteers are on the front-line giving over 13,500 hours of their time annually. And we know that the gift of time is priceless. This year’s Volunteer Recognition Dinner was a celebration and a recommitment as we launched #kNOwmore.