Confronting violence against women: Lest negligence beget violence

Lest negligence beget violence

Annual massacre remembrance

Violence against women in Quebec remains an alarming reality, "the largest human rights scandal in Quebec of our time," according to Barbara Legault of the Fédération des femmes du Québec (FFQ).

In this context, a series of co-ordinated actions is occurring across the province, including an action in Montreal at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 6 at the Place du 6-Décembre on Queen Mary and Decelles. Actions will commemorate the victims of the 1989 Montreal massacre at the École polytechnique, in which 14 young women were murdered. FFQ will also mark the anniversary by putting forward a series of political demands to the Liberal government of Jean Charest.

One critical issue that will be addressed by the FFQ in collaboration with the Quebec Native Women’s Association on this tragic anniversary is the disproportionately lower funding directed at women’s shelters within indigenous communities in Quebec.

"Funding for indigenous women’s centres in Quebec is on average $300,000 less than women’s centres located outside of indigenous communities," explains Barbara Legault of FFQ. "This funding discrepancy occurs despite the fact that indigenous women are disproportionately experiencing violence within their lives, a clear illustration of institutionalized racism against indigenous people."

The Conservative government’s position on gun control will also be addressed. "Soon after the 1989 Montreal massacre, the federal government quickly introduced the federal gun registry, which had a tangible impact on decreasing violence against women," outlines Legault of FFQ. "Now the Harper government is proposing that hunting rifles be removed from the national gun registry, despite the fact that a number of violent incidents directed at women in Canada occurred with hunting rifles."

The anniversary of the massacre provides an opportunity to remind the country of the ongoing reality of gender-based violence. "Violence against women is criminal. While the Quebec government continued to pour millions into campaigns against common criminals, Quebec Liberals have done little to financially contribute to stamping out violence against women forever," continues Legault. "A question that we should all ask is: Are we willing to accept a society in which violence against women continues to prevail?"

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