Peel – On the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, shoes were on display outside the Rose Theatre Garden Square to be representative of all the women across Canada that have lost their lives due to gender-based violence. In the last ten years, twenty-eight of these women were from the Region of Peel.
“Gender-based violence exists in our communities, and yet is still among the highest under-reported crimes in our cities, says Reya Dhandhari, PCAWA Coordinator. "This event is a time for the Region of Peel to come together, as service providers and community members to act together and say we want to end violence against women in Peel. The shoes on display at the event are to represent the many women who have lost their lives to violence and the many women and children whose lives have been impacted by gender based violence. They are the silent voices of loved ones lost, and the reminder to never stop fighting for the elimination of all forms of violence against women."
Each year the event takes place on the anniversary of the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre where fourteen women were killed in an act of gender-based violence. This day also serves as a reminder of the stolen and murdered Aboriginal women across Canada.
"There is need for systemic change throughout the Canadian society and it starts with taking action in our local communities, such as Peel Region. Violence against women is entrenched in our society , it is present in the lack of media coverage in death of a South Asian Woman last month at the hands of her 20-year-old son and the erasure of our awareness in the 1,191 stolen and murdered Aboriginal women across this country," says Reya Dhandhari. There is a bystander effect in society, events such as the December 6th Vigil are meant to awaken people to become aware, remember and take action.
PCAWA works with survivors to build a regional survivor network, in which survivors are given the space to enact their agency and have their voices heard regarding the impact that violence against women has had in their lives and the lives of their loved ones. One woman, a survivor of violence in Peel, had this to say on why the event was especially important to her," community awareness is a crucial step forward in the elimination of violence against women, together we can change our society's perceptions so that future generations can live in a society where violence against women is no longer an issue."
Violence against women does not discriminate it affects everyone. "We all have an active role to play in the elimination of violence against women," says Reya Dhandhari.
The event also included inspirational speakers, live performances, and a remembrance rose vigil. The shoe memorial was originally adopted from the City of Vancouver's Shoe Memorial. All the shoes collected for the memorial will be donated to the local shelters across Peel.
The Peel Committee Against Woman Abuse (PCAWA) is a community collaboration of over 40 member organizations in the Peel region that have a commitment to end violence against women. The vision of PCAWA is to eliminate violence against women in Peel Region. The mission is to facilitate and advocate for a coordinated and effective community response to violence against women in Peel Region.
The shoe memorial and rose vigil were covered by in the media:
Global News http://globalnews.ca/toronto/videos/program/weekend-evening-news-toronto/
CIty TV http://www.citynews.ca/2015/12/06/video-vigil-in-toronto-in-honour-of-montreal-massacre-victims/