Today, remember, reflect, work for change

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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P.E.I. Advisory Council on the Status of Women

Editor: Today in Canada, we mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Around the world, people are marking 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, from the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25) to International Human Rights Day (December 10). In the midst of this, Canada pauses to remember the Montreal Massacre of December 6, 1989.

On Prince Edward Island, we mark this time by wearing a purple ribbon to remember, to reflect, and to commit to work for change. We remember the 14 young women who were murdered because they were women on this day in 1989 in the Montreal Massacre. We also remember the nine women from P.E.I. who have been murdered since 1989 by men who knew them.

It is important to remember and appreciate the action that has followed in P.E.I., since 1989, such as the Victims of Family Violence Act, the creation of the Premier’s Action Committee on Family Violence Prevention, and the Charlottetown Mayor’s Purple Ribbon Task Force on Family Violence Prevention. We will continue the work to make laws and policies that prevent deaths like these from ever happening again.

Today, we also remember the hundreds of Aboriginal women across Canada who have been murdered and those that are missing, and we will stand with others to encourage a National Inquiry.

Today, we also acknowledge women around the world who are abused, raped, assaulted, and killed in their homes, in acts of war, and in fleeing from one country to another.

We remember all of them — mothers, sisters, daughters, friends and neighbours — and we renew our pledge to continue to work for a province, a country, a world that is safe and peaceful.

The theme for the Purple Ribbon Campaign Against Violence this year is: “ASK. Sex without consent is a crime.” A concentrated discussion on this topic is long overdue in our community.

It is our hope that this year’s theme will encourage discussion and debate in our homes, in our schools, in our workplaces, and throughout our communities.

At a memorial service on December 6 at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown, our guest speaker Colleen MacQuarrie will be speaking about consent. Memorial services in Summerside and O’Leary will also remember victims of violence.

Today, especially, I encourage everyone to wear a purple ribbon. It is appropriate to wear a purple ribbon any day of the year, to signify a commitment to ending violence on our Island. It is especially appropriate to wear one at this time of year. On December 6 we remember, we reflect, and we stand together during memorial services across the Island.

Diane Kays,

chairperson of the P.E.I. Advisory Council on the Status of Women

Organizations: Action Committee on Family Violence Prevention, Confederation Centre, P.E.I. Advisory Council on the Status of Women

Geographic location: Canada, Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown Summerside

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