Today, December 6th the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence BWSS joined the Women’s Monument Committee and Remember Our Sisters Everywhere for the event RISE for Yazidi Women and Girls / Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women at Thornton Park in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories. Here are a few words shared by Angela Marie MacDougall, BWSS Executive Director:
“This work. This effort. This heart. This intention that we bring this morning is as important as it was in 1989 with the murders of the 14 women in Montreal. Today, poignantly reminds us how endemic and how much of an epidemic that violence against women is. When the women were murdered in Montreal in 1989, it’s important to note, that here, in Vancouver; we had not one, not two, not three, serial killers operating in this neighbourhood, Downtown Eastside Vancouver. This thing about the global is local reminds us about the importance of acknowledging the interconnections of misogyny and racism and how it grinds down on the lives of all women all across the lands.
Now in the time of Trump where misogyny is being explained away in ways that we haven’t seen in a long time –the incredible regression that we are in, right now, the existential challenges that we have in terms of addressing systemic oppression, historical and legal oppression –the enormous step backward that we have taken, that’s been signalled through the U.S. election, but not only in the U.S., also in other Western democracies. In so many ways hyper-masculinity and hyper-masculinity fused with misogyny is mainstreamed and explicit through the abductions of Chibok school girls in Nigeria and Yazidi women in Iraq and Syria and with what we see here, right here, in British Columbia.
Something very interesting happened this past week, the B.C. Provincial government Coroners Service Death Review of Intimate Partner Violence Deaths. Every year the coroner takes a look at domestic violence in BC. It was very interesting to read the report and what was notable was buried in several pages and was two lines. And those two lines highlighted the fact that domestic homicide in BC has increased two years in a row and for every women that is murdered by a man, there are thousands more who are living in fear.
And we really do live in a culture of permissiveness around rape, and that for the rape of one woman, it is about degradation and terror, and most women and girls limit their behavior because of the existence of rape – stranger rape – and we know that stranger rape is actually the least amount of sexual assault that actually happens. Most times if women are sexually assaulted it’s by someone that they know. However, most women and girls are living in fear of rape, and men in general do not. And that’s how rape functions as a very, very, very powerful means by which the entire whole female population is held in a subordinate position to the whole male population.
That means that this presence that we are taking here today is extraordinarily important, not only for ourselves and our relationships, but also in our communities and the larger society. It is the violence and the lethal violence and the threat of that which is what we all recognize in this statement and this commitment that we have together. With our hearts this is a solemn occasion and it’s about action. I am ever grateful for remembering our sisters, our sisters everywhere.”
How to take action:
If you’re concerned about an abusive relationship