By Letter to the Editor on November 28, 2020.
The statistics prior to the pandemic were stark enough: women experience violence at a rate four times that of men. Within that number, Indigenous women experience violence at rates 2.7 times higher than non-Indigenous women and are three times as likely to experience spousal violence.
Transgendered women are nearly two times as likely to experience intimate partner violence than cisgendered women, and women living with physical or cognitive impairments experience three times the rate of intimate partner violence than those living without. The UN Issue Brief: COVID-19 and Ending Violence Against Women and Girls Since the Outbreak of COVID-19, reports that violence against women, and particularly domestic violence, has intensified dramatically during the pandemic as stressors such as health and financial worries are coupled with confinement to one’s home and isolation from outside support systems; referring to these new levels of gendered violence as a “pandemic within a pandemic.”
This year, Lethbridge City Hall was lit in orange on Wednesday, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in solidarity with the beginning of The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, a campaign that runs annually and continues until Dec. 10, International Human Rights Day, reminding us that gender-based violence is a violation of human rights. This year’s theme is “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!” Several prominent landmarks and buildings around the world will be lit orange in a show of International solidarity, including the UNESCO Globe.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada, Lethbridge Regional Women’s Committee invites all southern Albertans to commit to a few simple actions to question, call out, and speak up against gendered violence during these 16 Days, and throughout the year:
â€¢ Observe a moment of silence on Dec. 6 at 11 a.m., to honour the 14 women who lost their lives at l’Ã‰cole Polytechnique.
â€¢ Donate to a local women’s shelter.
â€¢ Believe and support survivors.
â€¢ Speak out and add your voice to call out misogyny online and cyber violence.
â€¢Â Learn about the resources to people experiencing family violence in your community.
â€¢ Volunteer with organizations working to end violence.
â€¢ Advocate to all levels of government that services for persons experiencing violence are treated as essential and are accessible during pandemic and other emergencies/disaster situations.
Together we can work towards a safer home for everyone.
Chair, PSAC Lethbridge Regional Women’s Committee