Women Go Missing and Die amid Government and Social Apathy
Women’s Anti Violence Advocates Meet in Winnipeg Manitoba and Discuss National Strategy to End Violence against Women
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(WINNIPEG MB, December 15, 2009) “There is no question – absolutely no question – that we are going to put violence against women at the centre of this country’s agenda, starting right now,” said Suzanne Dzus of Calgary.
Ms. Dzus made this compelling declaration following a day long meeting of women anti-violence advocates held at the Manitoba Status of Women offices in Winnipeg on Saturday. The women are key organizers of Missing and Murdered Women Memorial marches held-in communities across British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario.
Women at this first-time meeting know full well that Canada has a very long history of hiding its dirty secrets when it comes to violence against women in general and Aboriginal women specifically, as Aboriginal women are disproportionally represented among the missing and murdered women in Canada.
“Once again, we are taking up the work of holding the Canadian government accountable for its history of colonialism and entrenched racism and the immense violence against women their seemingly never-ending denials have caused,” said Carol Martin of Vancouver.
“We are moving forward with the leadership of Aboriginal women at the absolute centre of our efforts,” said Martin.
“We understand that a massive change is needed. We know Aboriginal women have the leadership, the experience, the wisdom and the power to bring our communities back to wholeness, to create the healing our country so desperately needs,” said Lisa Michell of Winnipeg.
The advocates returned to their communities dedicated to igniting a totally new level of action that includes co-ordination of memorial marches nationally and the development of a national strategy on ending violence against women. “Violence against women is everybody’s business” said Michell. Another meeting will happen in January, as plans for involving the children of missing and murdered women get underway.
“The children have lost their grandmothers, their mothers, their aunts, their sisters, their friends. All murdered, with so many, nowhere to be found. Why is our country willing to have its children suffer these unendurable losses? Why do our children have to carry these horrific stories?” asked Danielle Boudreau of Edmonton.
The group also intends to work with men genuinely dedicated to doing everything they can do to end the violence. “We are looking for men committed to taking every single necessary step to end the terror visited on women,” said Angela Marie MacDougall of Vancouver.
The Women’s Memorial Marches for Missing and Murdered Women occur every February 14th across Canada. There is an estimated 3,000 women who have gone missing or been found murdered since 1969. Each case has left families of the victims and the broader community questioning whether the authorities acted responsibly to investigate longstanding reports of missing women. Aboriginal women constitute a majority of the missing and murdered women from this period; research has indicated that more than 500 Aboriginal women are known to be missing, and feared murdered, in Canada.
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For more information contact:
Lisa Michell – Women’s Memorial March Committee Chair Winnipeg 204-299-6425
Danielle Boudreau – Founder Women’s Memorial March Edmonton 780-482-4658
Suzanne Dzus – Founder Women’s Memorial March Calgary 403-700-5560
Angela Marie MacDougall – Women’s Memorial March Planning Committee Vancouver 604-687-1613
Carol Lynne D’Arcangelis – Stolen Sisters March Toronto 416-925-7113
Gladys Radek – Co-Founder Walk 4 Justice
Carol Martin – Women’s Memorial March Planning Committee Vancouver 604-681-8480 Ext 233
Marlene George – Women’s Memorial March Planning Committee Chair Vancouver 604-665-2220
Rita Jasper strives to produce work that makes social impact or simply provokes thought to bring about awareness and different points of view. Her work shows how people emotionally relate to art, nature, or community issues. Rita is a published poet and magazine writer, painter and an emerging professional filmmaker.