On December 6, nine years ago, fourteen young women were killed in a hateful and sorrowful massacre at the École Polytechnique in Montreal. On December 6, this year, women and men across Canada will rededicated themselves to the struggle to end violence against women.
The threat to women remains unacceptably high in our society. Each year one in eight Canadian women is battered by the man with whom she lives. One in four Canadian women is sexually assaulted during her lifetime, half before they are seventeen years old. The majority of women in our society have been harassed on the job or in public. The risk for women of colour is greater still. Two in five girls are sexually abused. In the home, in the workplace and in our communities, women and girls daily live at risk.
Within CUPE we have made a great effort to confront this violence in all its forms and overcome the inequality that fosters it. Through the Solidarity against Violence campaign, we have exposed the links between violence, power and discrimination. And we have encouraged locals to take practical steps within their workplace to raise awareness, change behaviours and minimize risk - through education and training, improved contract language, safety audits and political action.
By working together on December 6 - and every day - the women and men within CUPE can make a real difference, extending our support to survivors of violence and renewing our efforts to end the threat.