Vancouver Island MLA Mitzi Dean knows what its like to worry about her safety simply because she’s a woman.
In B.C., an estimated 1,000 women are physically or sexually assaulted every week at work, school or at home. In a statement released Monday, the parliamentary secretary for gender equity says addressing inequality of every kind if critical to ending gender-based violence.
“For the woman walking home from work at dusk, the girl waiting for a bus home, the trans woman on a Sunday errand or the sex worker leaving her apartment, I know how it feels to worry about who may be around the corner,” Dean says. “I know how it feels to worry about not being safe.”
The Esquimalt-Metchosin MLA’s words come at the start of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, an international campaign running from Nov. 25 (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to Dec. 10 (World Human Rights Day).
“These 16 days are a rallying cry for real action to end violence against women, girls, transgender, non-binary, and two-spirit people,” Dean says. “They are a call for us all to work together to end gender-based violence by challenging toxic masculinity, rape culture and the silence that allows abusers to harm others.
“As a government, we have the responsibility to not only act on ending gendered violence but also to support survivors.”
Honoured to announce 11 new women’s transition housing projects on day 1 of #16DaysOfActivism – that’s 260+ new transition beds, 2nd stage and affordable housing for women and children. Thank you to @selinarobinson and community partners for making this a reality. #bcleg #bcpoli pic.twitter.com/M7cTqM3LxN
— Mitzi Dean (@MitziDeanBC) November 25, 2019
Dean points to the province’s investments in transition housing – an initiative providing victims of violence with the safety, stability and resources they need. The Women’s Transition Housing Fund will provide 1,500 new units of transition housing, second-stage housing and long-term homes for survivors of violence in communities throughout the province.
“Those breaking away from sexual and domestic violence need a safe place to stay in order to begin rebuilding their lives,” Dean says. “They require access to services that can help them begin the healing process and move forward from their traumatic experiences.”
This year’s campaign’s theme is #OurActionsMatter. The public is encouraged to use the hashtag online to add their voice to the “growing chorus of survivors, advocates and partners” who are sharing the actions they have taken to end gender-based violence.
The government also encourages the public to become an ally by listening to others, believing and supporting survivors, speaking out against or about violence, finding safe ways to intervene when witnessing violence and giving their time to organizations working to end it.
“The next 16 days is a continuation of the dialogue that has already begun – be it the historic waves of feminism, to today’s #MeToo movement,” Dean says. “Together we can end gender-based violence and build a brighter future for everyone.”
For more information on the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign, visit cfc-swc.gc.ca.
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