December 6 - Take action to end violence against women
YWCA Canada Rose Campaign Calls on Federal Government to form a National Action Plan to End Violence Against Women and Girls
Ottawa, Tuesday November 25, 2008 –YWCA Canada, the country’s single largest provider of shelter services for women and second largest provider of childcare, launched the Rose Campaign today, calling on the federal government for a national action plan to end violence against women and girls.
“Ending violence against women requires a major shift in our thinking as a society,” says YWCA Canada CEO Paulette Senior. “Violence must be treated as unacceptable behaviour whenever and wherever it occurs.” Senior pointed to the direct connections between poverty, lack of low-cost child care, and women’s ability to protect themselves against violence.
“Every woman needs a safe place to live, a door she can lock to shut out violence, whether she is fleeing an assaultive partner or struggling to get off the street,” says Senior. “Homelessness is never safe for women.”
Launched on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the Rose Campaign is supported by the Canadian Women’s Foundation, the Communications, Energy and Paper Workers Union of Canada and YWCAs across the country.
“Emergency shelter, affordable long-term housing, access to a livable income and, for mothers, child care they can afford – these are the pieces that need to be in place for women across this country,” says Gisele Pageau, of the Communications, Energy and Paper Workers Union of Canada. “In our North, the need for emergency shelter and supportive counselling is particularly acute.”
“Women need full equality in practise, not just in law,” says Maureen Adams of the Canadian Women’s Foundation. “That means equal pay, not 73 cents of each dollar earned by men. More than a third of single mothers are raising their kids in poverty. These harsh facts of life narrow women’s options. ”
Taking its name from the original rose button that honoured the fourteen young women murdered at Montréal’s l'École Polytechnique on December 6, 1989, the Rose Campaign commemorates December 6 as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. The Campaign outlines clear steps for action by individuals, communities and governments and is promoted through a re-designed button, bookmark, brochure and viral message to MPs.
By visiting www.ywcacanada.ca, supporters can email a virtual rose to their MP on December 6th, asking for a national strategy to end violence against women and girls. The online advocacy campaign will reach out to young women, who have grown up in the shadow of the Montreal Massacre but have no connection to it.
Violence against women is the largest and most persistent human rights violation, and Canada is no exception. Over 50% of Canadian women will experience violence at some point in their lives, the majority before they turn 25. In most cases, women know their abuser.
“While youth violence is a priority issue for service at the federal, provincial and territorial levels, the discussion is only about guns and gangs, ” says x from YMCA-YWCA National Capital Region. “Young women are worried about physical and sexual assault, discrimination and harassment, and sexuality and gender issues.”
“Canada is not yet a safe country for women,” says Senior. “The government should not wait until the twentieth anniversary of December 6th to take steps toward a coordinated national action plan. Implementation now will save lives.”
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For further information on YWCA Canada and its programs and services, or to set up an interview with Paulette Senior, CEO of YWCA Canada, please contact Laura Tilley, Communications Coordinator at 647-883-2340.
About YWCA Canada:
YWCA Canada is the country’s oldest and largest women's multi-service organization. With 33 Member Associations operating in more than 400 districts and communities across the country, our Turning Point Programs for Women™ - which address personal safety, economic security and well-being – reaching out to 1 million women and girls in nine provinces and one territory. YWCA is the largest national provider of shelter to women, serving 25,000 women, children and teen girls including 6,000 fleeing woman abuse each year. We are the largest provider of literacy, life skills, employment and counselling programs in the country, and the second largest provider of childcare services. YWCA Canada is a member association of the World YWCA which unites 25 million women and girls worldwide and spans 125 countries. For more information about YWCA Canada and our Member Associations, visit www.ywcacanada.ca.