For Immediate Release
November 7, 2014
Violence Against Women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside Continues
Women’s Coalition calls on funders to hold agencies to account
Vancouver, B.C. – After a series of sexual assaults in a co-ed shelter came to light late in 2011, a group of women-serving organizations in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside came together to denounce the circumstances surrounding this and other unreported sexual violence, including a culture of silence and complicity. The DTES Women’s Coalition launched a series of protests demanding immediate action to create safety in shelters for women.
Today the DTES Women’s Coalition is releasing “Getting to the Roots: Exploring Systemic Violence Against Women in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver”, a report detailing the findings of a peer-led community safety survey of over 150 women in the neighbourhood. This report provides a summary of the pervasive violence women in the DTES face and the immediate need to change the attitudes of those who are aware of the violence and stand by while it occurs.
There are those who will see themselves in this report, culpable in their lack of action and unwillingness to take steps to protect those most vulnerable to gender-based violence.
“Violence against women is endemic and epidemic and every member of our society has to prioritize women’s safety.” says Angela Marie MacDougall of Battered Women’s Support Services.
In a community where there is an imbalance of men to women – 60% men and 40% women – there are inequities in housing and services that create an environment where women do not have the power men are accorded.
“So many co-ed facilities are funded to provide services to both men and women but do not commit 40% of their work to providing safety for women. This has to change now.” says Alice Kendall of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre.
“We are calling on all funders to require service providers to maintain 40% of their service budget for the well-being of women they serve with a concerted commitment to address violence each and every time” says Kate Gibson of WISH Drop-In Centre Society.
We all believe that the only way to combat gendered violence is to support women in this community to live safe and healthy lives. We are no longer willing to tolerate services defaulting to men at the cost of women’s safety.
The DTES Women’s Coalition members:
|Aboriginal Front DoorAtira Women’s Resource SocietyBattered Women’s Support ServicesCarnegie Community Centre
Vancouver Native health
Inner City Women’s Resource Society
Memorial March Committee
|PACE SocietyDowntown Community Health CentreThe Bloom GroupUnion Gospel Mission
BCCDC Nursing Outreach
Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre
WISH Drop-In Centre Society
Angela Marie MacDougall 604-808-0507
Alice Kendall 778-322-4594
Kate Gibson 604-720-5517