Growth of a movement

It’s that time of year again when the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre and Les EssentiElles team up with a number of community groups to deliver a series events in our community that promise to encourage dialogue, to take action and increase awareness to end violence against women and girls.

This year’s campaign theme is “It’s Never Ok” and will focus on ending gender-based violence. The campaign this year marks a shift in thinking and will be a little bit different. Nationally and internationally women’s organizations are not only talking about violence against women and girls, we are now talking about gender-based violence.

According to the Status of Women Canada, gender-based violence is the abuse of power and control perpetrated against individuals based on their gender identity, gender expression, or perceived gender. Violence against women is just one form of gender-based violence. Folks who identify as LGBTQQI2S (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and two-spirit) and gender nonconforming people experience a high rate of gender-based violence.

In other words, we are expanding our lens so that we work towards ending the exclusion of and violence towards our LGBTQQI2S and gender non-conforming community members in our efforts to address social injustices.

The kick-off event this year will be a rockin’ women lead band night at Epic Pizza on Saturday, November 25.

There are a number of events planned that can be found on the website. This line up of events includes a talk with former professional football player, JR LaRose, called Be More than a Bystander; a series of film screenings hosted by the White Ribbon Campaign, Les EssentiElles, and the Girls and Trans Rainbow Youth Group, a lunch and learn event focused on Yukon Women in the Sex Trade, the consent crew at Yukon College; workshops held by Bringing Youth Towards Equality (BYTE), and the December 6th vigil to honour the women-identified victims of the 1989 Montreal Massacre and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Yukon.

The campaign will end with an event held at the Human Rights Commission on Sunday, December 10, which is Human Rights Day.

By including this event on Human Rights Day we are aligning our efforts with other communities across Canada, and we are emphasizing that addressing gender-based violence is critical, since it acts as a barrier for our community members to access opportunities and/or basic rights such as health care and citizenship.

The final difference, and this was a hard one, was the decision to move the Take Back the Night march back to September in order to re-align with other initiatives across Canada. Last January community members came together to organize this women’s march with a staggering attendance of over 200 community members in temperatures of -37ºC.

What makes the Take Back the Night march such an inspiring event and so effective in sending a message is that there are simultaneous marches held all over the world. We can say the same for the international SlutWalks that have been held.

Now more than ever, groups are coming together in a number of communities to express that they will not tolerate gender-based violence. That’s where hope and resistance can inspire change.

Let’s let continue to encourage dialogue, healing, honour resistance to violence and work together to create social change. Check out the website the or the Facebook pages of the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre and Les EssentiElles for more details about these events.

Reem Girgrah is the Court Watch Volunteer Coordinator at the Yukon Status of Women Council. Originally from Ottawa/unceded Algonquin territory, if she isn’t advocating for human rights you can find her stand up paddling.

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