National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

Dec 05, 2023

The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women is an important opportunity for Nova Scotians to acknowledge and reflect upon the persistent issue of gender-based violence.

This day, marked on December 6 each year, commemorates the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal, where 14 women lost their lives simply because of their gender. Its commemoration serves as a somber reminder of the devastating impact of gender-based violence on individuals, families, and communities. By remembering the victims, we honor their lives and stand in solidarity against such horrendous acts.

Although this commemorative event began more than 30 years ago, the crisis of violence against women is a current issue that effects girls, women, and transgender people from all walks of life, disproportionately those from already marginalized communities. It is critical to continue to raise awareness about the ongoing challenges women face, fostering a collective commitment to eradicating violence and promoting gender equality.

The National Day of Remembrance and Action urges Nova Scotians to take concrete steps in preventing violence, supporting survivors, and advocating for systemic change. By recognizing and participating in this day, communities can contribute to building a safer, more inclusive society where everyone, regardless of gender, can live free from fear and violence.

The Mass Casualty Commission's report on the tragic events of April 2020, in Nova Scotia underscores the urgent need to address gender-based violence, particularly intimate partner violence. The report identifies gender-based violence as a public health emergency, emphasizing the role it played in the mass casualties. It calls for a comprehensive, community-based response that reflects the needs of marginalized survivors. The call for governments and institutions to prioritize prevention, support for survivors, and responses beyond just incarceration represents a more holistic approach to combating gender-based violence.

Moving forward, it is necessary that government, community, and society implement the recommendations of the Mass Casualty Commission. This collective effort is essential for creating a safer and more equitable Nova Scotia.

On December 6, I encourage all Nova Scotians to actively engage in reflection, education, and collective action towards a future free from gender-based violence.

The preceding is a statement from Joseph Fraser, Director & CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.