Dear friend and supporter,
Today, on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women, we recall the brutal murders of 14 women at Montreal’s École Polytechnique in 1989. As we remember these women and all those who have lost their lives because of their gender, we pledge to act.
It is in recognition of this somber day that West Coast LEAF is releasing our ninth annual CEDAW Report Card, which grades the state of women’s equality in BC across nine key areas, including violence against women and the state of inaction on missing and murdered Indigenous women.
The report card assesses BC’s adherence to the human rights standards set out in the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) – the international bill of women’s rights.
Although the average grades of this year’s report card have crept up and there is room for cautious optimism, there is no room for complacency. The grades, all between D and C+, reveal that BC has a long way to go to ensure that women’s human rights are a reality.
Our 2017 report card confirms that women in BC are experiencing severe harms stemming from continuing inequality. Indeed, violence against women in BC is endemic. This is what the data shows:
- Women and girls in every age group are more likely to be victims of family violence than their male counterparts.
- Intimate partner violence still claims at least a dozen lives a year in BC and impacts many, many more. Eighty per cent of victims of intimate partner violence are killed in their own homes.
- Sexual assault reports to the justice system are still dismissed as unfounded at an alarming rate across Canada. BC is home to Central Saanich, which unfortunately has the highest rates of reports deemed unfounded anywhere in Canada.
- Indigenous women face grossly disproportionate and often deadly violence, which continues to threaten their safety and human rights across BC, a devastating consequence of colonization.
We know we share a deep sense of injustice that women continue to face discrimination in our society, and that we also share the belief that change is possible.
We know what actions need to be taken to ensure that women can seek safety and have their rights enforced. Women facing violence can’t wait. Now is the time to act.
With your help, we can push for better laws and policies to ensure that women’s basic needs are met. With your help, we can call on the government to tackle the deep socioeconomic inequalities that make women, especially Indigenous women, more vulnerable to violence. With your help, we can dismantle the barriers faced by women seeking safety.
Inaction has life-threatening consequences for women and girls. When you stand with West Coast LEAF against systemic violence, you can make meaningful change a reality.
West Coast LEAF