National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women (Write Ribbon Day)
Did you know that before the pandemic, on average, every six days a Canadian woman was killed by her intimate partner?
Covid19 and social isolation measures, economic uncertainty and stress are risk factors that are adding not only to an increase in domestic violence but also severity of the types of abuse being reported. Staying home isn’t safe for everyone – abusers are in closer proximity to victims with less intervention from friends, family or coworkers. It is being reported that across Canada crisis lines have seen surges in calls up at least 50%, more in some areas. Gender-based violence is being referred to as the shadow pandemic with shelters over capacity and resources in high demand.
We are coming up to December 6th – National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women informally – White Ribbon Day. This is a day commemorated in Canada each December 6, the anniversary of the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre, in which an armed student murdered fourteen women and injured ten others in the name of “fighting feminism”.
Around this time, especially this year, it is important for us to know that there are things we can all do to help stop gender-based violence:
Attend Unifor Canada’s Online Vigil and Action December 6th 2PM
Educate yourself and become an ally
Key components of domestic violence are shame and isolation. By learning, showing you care and by listening you can help change the stigma and shame while breaking down the walls of isolation.
The Canadian Women’s Foundation has a very informative fact sheet which will help you better understand more about gender-based violence and the affect it has on not only victims and their children but also all Canadians. https://canadianwomen.org/the-facts/gender-based-violence/
Share information with friends and family on social media like Unifor shareables and statements.
Share the #SignalForHelp – This is a way for those at risk of violence at home to video call for help without leaving a digital trace.
Send a letter to your local representatives demanding the federal government follow through on developing a National Action Plan to End Gender-based Violence
Know where to find resources
www.211.ca is a useful hub for services in your own communities
www.VictimServicesNiagara.on.ca – 24hr Emergency Referral Line – 905-682-2626
www.sheltersafe.ca – an online resource for women and their children seeking safety from violence and abuse
Contact your Women’s Advocate
Unifor has a network of over 400 Women’s Advocates across Canada which are positions negotiated into collective agreements. General Motors’ Unifor Women’s Advocate, Jessica McCourt, is available for all members who are seeking information, support and referral on gender-based violence including domestic violence. Referrals are for many issues such as sexual assault, intimate partner violence and other forms of abuse, anger management, mental health and counselling, pregnancy, stalking and divorce/separation.
If you are experiencing violence or have concern for someone you know, please do not hesitate to reach out. Your Women’s Advocate is here to support ALL 199 members regardless of gender. Privacy and confidentiality are deeply respected.
Call, text, email or stop by the office in the WEST clockhouse
Women’s Advocate & Employment Equity Rep
Unifor Local 199 GM Unit