The Province is joining the United Nations' 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign to help advance gender equity, make life better and make communities safer for women, girls and transgender people in B.C. and around the world.
“Everyone has the right to live without fear and violence, yet women, transgender and gender-diverse people continue to face gender-based and sexualized violence in every part of their lives,” said Mitzi Dean, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. “Every step we take in this fight must include the voices and acknowledge the experiences of those who have faced this type of violence.”
To mark the beginning of the 16 days, Premier John Horgan and Dean met with anti-violence advocates to discuss the progress and challenges of ending gender-based violence in B.C.
“We need to work together to end gender-based violence and build a better world and brighter future for our children and grandchildren,” said Premier Horgan. “We are at a critical moment in history in the struggle for gender equality. B.C. is joining people around the world in raising their voices, telling their stories and fighting to end gender-based violence.”
In addition to joining the campaign, the Province has been taking cross-government action to address gender-based violence. The Province has allotted $734 million in funding to build 1,500 new transition homes for women and children fleeing violence. The first 280 of these safe spaces will be delivered in 12 projects around the province and will include funding for a range of services, such as emotional support and safety planning.
Government has also invested $5 million to help reduce waitlists and better meet demand for vital services like counselling, outreach and crisis support, with an additional $18 million over three years for continued services.
In continuing its work toward reconciliation, government has provided funding to the Snuneymuxw Youth and Family Society in Nanaimo to operate 10 transition house beds that will primarily serve Indigenous women and children and will provide culturally appropriate supports. To ensure safe and reliable travel for women in northern B.C., the Province is increasing cellular service and building a new cell tower along Highway 16 and establishing the BC Bus North long-haul bus service.
Government is taking steps toward fighting gender-based violence and working together to ensure a better and safer B.C. for all.
Linda Amy, Sexual Assault Centre —
“For far too long, silence and stigma have allowed gender-based violence to continue. We need to support all women, trans, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse survivors of sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse through crisis support, counselling and empowerment. With healing, education and prevention, we can end sexualized violence.”
Karen Martin, Disability Alliance BC —
“Women with disabilities experience high rates of gender-based violence, but have low rates of access to community services because of continued physical, social and economic exclusion, discrimination and isolation.”
Elba Bendo, Women’s Legal Centre: West Coast LEAF —
“As we reflect and commit to taking action on gender-based violence, it is essential to recognize that the eradication of gender-based violence requires substantive public investment in social benefits and services, access to justice, and increased police accountability.”
Ninu Kang, MOSAIC BC —
“Ending violence is also about challenging the systems of inequality that women and children who experience intersecting oppressions like poverty, racism and language barriers face. Ensuring newcomers to Canada are supported through culturally appropriate prevention and education is key to decreasing risks and making our communities safer.”
Angela Marie MacDougall, Battered Women’s Support Services —
“Violence against women and girls is endemic and an epidemic. Any gains we have made in the past 40 years in shifting culture toward ending gender violence are precarious. Today, we stand at a tipping point and the 16 Days of Activism on Gender-Based Violence is a reminder that we must continue the unfinished business of redressing historical power imbalances toward liberation and justice.”
Chastity Davis, Minister’s Advisory Council on Indigenous Women —
“Indigenous women have been subject to gender-based violence since the early settlers arrived to colonize the land now known as Canada. Following that, the creation of the Indian Act by the federal government and legislation within the act targeted to displace women from their rightful roles as matriarchs in their communities has contributed to perpetuating gender-based violence. We have a long road ahead of us to address the systemic racism that has led to a dominant narrative in this country that Indigenous women’s lives are of less value than other women’s lives in this country. I am encouraged to see the B.C. government honour their commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples through addressing gender-based violence against Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people. The single most impactful investment that can be made is in the safety and optimal health and wellness of Indigenous women. Healthy Indigenous women equate to healthy Indigenous children, men and communities.”
- Cross-government work is being done to address gender-based violence in B.C., such as:
- Standing with community groups and frontline workers by providing $1.7 million in community grants to address violence against women, including domestic violence, sexual violence, human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
- Investing $26 million in access to affordable, quality, legal services and expanding legal aid, including Indigenous and family law services.
- Promoting safe, respectful workplaces for everyone with new measures to make sure B.C.’s creative sector is free from bullying and harassment.
- Re-establishing a human rights commission that will focus on human rights education and promotion and creating a more inclusive and just society for all.
- Over half of women in B.C. have experienced physical or sexual violence since the age of 16 — more than one million women in the province.
- In B.C., there are over 1,000 physical or sexual assaults against women every week.
- Indigenous women are 2.7 times more likely than non-Indigenous women to experience violence. The homicide rate is seven times higher.
- Women with disabilities are almost twice as likely to be sexually assaulted as women without disabilities.
To read more about B.C.’s new transition homes, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018PREM0079-002068
To read more about the United Nations’ 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Discrimination campaign, visit: http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/take-action/16-days-of-activism