Premier John Horgan and Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, have released the following statement on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women:
“Each year, from Nov. 25 to Dec. 10, governments, organizations, communities and individuals band together to mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.
“These 16 days are a time to rally together and demand an end to violence against women, girls, Two-Spirit, trans and gender-diverse people.
“Every day, so many people bravely step forward to break the cycle of domestic violence, end the silence and stigma around sexual assault, and seek safety and healing for themselves and their families.
“Every day, community organizations, advocacy groups, sexual assault centres, victim services and transition houses work tirelessly to support survivors and their communities with expertise and compassion.
“We know that throughout this pandemic and during times of emergency, gender-based violence increases and vulnerable people are at an even greater risk. We recognize the suffering of the many thousands of people who live under a constant threat of violence, especially during these uncertain and challenging times.
“We also grieve friends, family and community members who have been stolen from us by violence, including thousands of Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit people who have been murdered or who are missing in Canada.
“Grieving those who have been lost is important, but on its own it is not enough. We must all work to stop the violence and support survivors. During these days of activism, we reaffirm our resolve to work actively every day throughout the year to end violence against women.
“As a government, we recognize our responsibility to address gender-based violence. We are delivering on a plan to end gender-based violence and bring people and services together with a common goal, and ensure survivors have access to the supports they need.
“While gender-based violence occurs in all communities and cultures, Indigenous women and girls, racialized people, transgender people, non-binary people and others in the 2SLGBTQ+ community, as well as those with disabilities, are at the greatest risk of being targeted and face the most barriers accessing services.
“Our work must continue to centre these survivors.
“Everyone deserves to feel safe in our province. Our family members, friends, colleagues and neighbours should not have to worry about their safety getting home or being at home.
“Stopping gender-based violence, domestic violence and sexual violence is everyone’s business. If you see that something is wrong, if you hear that something is wrong, speak up.
“Anyone who is in danger should call 911. If you or someone you know is being abused, or if you are concerned about someone’s safety, call or text VictimLink BC through its toll-free 24-7 confidential, multilingual telephone service at 1 800 563-0808 or by email: VictimLinkBC@bc211.ca
“The safety and well-being of all people depend on everyone taking action to help end this kind of violence and make our province safer.
“Let’s work together to end gender-based violence by challenging the behaviour that results in harm, breaking the silence that allows abusers to commit these crimes and pledging to make our province safer for everyone.”