Kenora residents braved the winter-weather to pay tribute.
December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, and Kenora’s NeChee Friendship Centre wanted to honour the victims of violence, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and those lost in the 1989 Montreal massacre. In the massacre, fourteen young women were killed at Ecole Polytechnique because of their gender.
NeChee started the day by organizing the first ‘I am a Kind Man’ march, which invited male allies to walk from Husky the Musky to Market Square. The march was to rally the community to publicly show their support to local movements, and help to raise awareness of violence against women and children.
When the walkers reached Market Square, they joined a vigil and rose-laying ceremony. The community gathered to pause and reflect on violence against women in our society, and for those who live with the threat of gender-based violence. There were 14 roses laid for those lost in the Montreal massacre, as well as 30 roses for missing and murdered Indigenous women lost in the community.
Ashley Trent, Family Stabilization Worker at the Ontario Native Women’s Association and a member of the Violence Against Women Coalition, spoke about the inspiration behind the day’s events.
“Each year, unfortunately the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls continues to rise in our community and our region. It’s a historical number. The focus of today is to commemorate our local women who are missing or who have been murdered, as well as those murdered in Montreal,” she said.
The Government of Canada offered some statistics, when it comes to gender-based violence:
- Women are at a 20 per cent higher risk of violent victimization than men when all other risk factors are taken into account.
- Young women between the ages of 15 and 24 experience the highest rates of violence.
- Indigenous women are more than three times as likely to report being a victim of spousal violence as non-Indigenous women.
- Women living in the territories are victimized at a rate eight times higher than those living in the provinces.
In August of this year, the OPP released a Victim Response Support Strategy that outlines the actions the OPP is taking to improve the response to and support for victims. This includes providing more resources and training to OPP investigators and creating new roles and functions to strengthen victim support.
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Local voice leads testimony