Frontline women’s organizations rallied today in front of the provincial courts (800 Hornby Street), to raise the alarm regarding violence against women and the systemic failure to address male violence within the criminal justice system.
Women’s groups gathered to affirm women’s resistance and demand that men stop their violence and for men to hold other men accountable to end violence against women.
Battered Women’s Support Services, Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, Dixon House Transition Society and Women Against Violence Against Women stand in solidarity with all women who are resisting and escaping male violence daily.
From March 10 – May 13, 2014, eight women were attacked by their male partners and six of those attacks resulted in death. Four of the women had already separated from their attackers and had their own homes. In four cases, the children witnessed the attack of their mothers. In four of the eight cases, the police were previously involved.
Executive Director of Battered Women Support Services Angela Marie MacDougall states: “We know by and large most women don’t participate in the criminal legal systems. For those women that believe they will get some measure of justice through participation in the criminal legal system it is essential that they receive swift thorough criminal justice response.”
According to a 2009 Stats Canada survey, there is a 0.03% conviction rate when it comes to sexual assault.
“In Canada, laws to protect women just sit on paper. They are theories that are not effectively implemented or followed by the criminal justice system. So how useful are they to women?” asks Arlana Green worker from WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre
Feminist anti-violence women’s groups want to acknowledge that these attacks are part of the larger context of male violence against women. Domestic assault is part of the continuum of male violence women face, including incest, rape, prostitution and sexual harassment. There are over 1181 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, 1 in four women are sexually assaulted in Canada, and 8 deadly attacks on women in BC by their male partners all reflect the stark reality of male violence against women.
“Indigenous women face disproportionately higher rates of violence against them and the male violence that is perpetrated against them are more brutal and deadly. When we are talking about violence against women we must be talking about violence against Indigenous women and girls.” State Daisy Kler from Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter
Feminist women serving organizations in this province have worked for over four decades towards the elimination of violence against women and call for: a criminal justice system that takes violence against women seriously, for a system of service that provides domestic assault and sexual assault support services, for safe housing and counselling, and for an appropriate level of funding to ensure women have immediate access to services they need.
What women in this province deserve is to be supported and to be provided with protection when they courageously leave their abusers. As 52 percent of the population, women and girls of BC demand that their government effectively address and work to end the gender-based violence they face every day.