PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
November 24, 2016

Vancouver commemorates the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Battered Women’s Support Services – Changing Women’s Lives Now, Ending Violence for Future Generations

Vancouver, Coast Salish Territory – On Friday, November 25th the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Vancouver’s Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) will convene an unprecedented configuration of local officials, Indigenous community leaders, legal and criminal justice representatives, other women’s organizations and supporters to join with women around the world and strengthen a shared vision in the effort to end violence against women and girls.

The commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women will be held at Steel Toad Brewery at 6 pm on Friday, November 25, 2016. The sold out event boasts a territorial welcome by Debra Sparrow representing the Musqueam Nation, remarks by Cecilia Point representing BWSS Board of Directors, remarks by a City of Vancouver representative, a keynote address by Dr. Jordana Aziz, video updates on BWSS frontline work and their social enterprise and the event will be Emceed by Angela Marie MacDougall, BWSS Executive Director.

It’s been 25 years since the United Nations designated November 25th as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and in light of the results of the recent U.S. presidential election, the work at BWSS has become even more essential.

“The issues discussed during the U.S. presidential election such as immigration, racism, misogyny, economic development, climate change are significant factors in the lives of women and girls in Vancouver,” said Angela Marie MacDougall, BWSS Executive Director.  “As part of the global community in Vancouver, we are poignantly aware that the U.S. has signaled a regression on social advancements and this has the potential to grind down profoundly in the lives of women and girls in our city.”

“The making of Canada as a nation is fused with violence against Indigenous women and girls.  As we approach the national inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, we must never forget that Vancouver has been ground zero for our deaths and disappearances,” said Terriea Harris, BWSS Manager, Indigenous Women’s Program, “and today Vancouver has a Fentanyl crisis and Indigenous women on the frontline once again.”

“The example set by the U.S. president elect has made the prevention of violence against women and girls more difficult,” said Rona Amiri, BWSS Violence Prevention Co-ordinator.  “So we are looking to our community in Vancouver to recommit and to be an example of a city that cares about ending violence against women and girls.”

“Vancouverites have proven to be a strong voice around the environment and climate change,” Said Samantha Kearney, Manager of BWSS social enterprise, My Sister’s Closet Eco-thrift Boutique. “At BWSS, we understand clearly the relationship between violence against women and violence against the land.  So we seek to further build our social change around these intersections.”

“Over 40% of women who access BWSS are immigrant women and 2% are refugees or have precarious immigration status,” said Rosa Elena Arteaga, Manager Direct Service and Clinical Practice.  “So we continue to mobilize ourselves around immigration law and policy reform to prevent immigrant women from being trapped in abusive relationships due to their immigration status.  We will continue to push for Vancouver to be a sanctuary city.”

“For 37 years, BWSS has used the tools of our generations to resist and transform, shifting conversations and attitudes. We have had to use sharp elbows to make space for more voices,” continued MacDougall, “and today there are more platforms, more survivors are finding their voice, using their voice and taking their space to tell their stories and resisting male violence, and what we know is that when the voices of change get louder so does the backlash.”

Media enquiries

Angela Marie MacDougall, Executive Director, Battered Women’s Support Services
Tel. (604) 808 0507 E-mail: director@bwss.org

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