16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence runs from November 25 to December 10, 2020. It was started by activists in the Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991. It is a strategic resource for individuals and organizations around the world that work toward the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. This year’s theme is “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!”
Gender-based violence is not something that happens elsewhere. In Canada, 67 women were killed by current and former partners and another 31 women were killed by other members of their own families in 2018. Here in Nova Scotia, we quickly identified the massacre in Portapique as an example of misogynist male violence that added to these horrific statistics.
It is imperative to note that while violence against women and children occurs on a daily basis, there is currently a global crisis caused by an unprecedented level of pressure for women to remain in violent and toxic relationships due to the pandemic. Earlier this year we saw the world retreat inside their homes and businesses close to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. What we didn’t see, was the increase in violence against women – creating what many refer to as the Shadow Pandemic.
The pandemic locked down resources and significantly reduced the choices women in violent situations could make. With little to no choice, women in Nova Scotia stayed in dangerous situations. Our centres saw a dramatic decrease in the requests for help and outreach during the first months of the pandemic. We know the violence didn’t stop just because a new virus was going around. Our Centres made every effort to stay connected to clients virtually, to be there around the clock to support and offer resources. We didn’t close our doors… because we know what goes on behind closed doors.
We will mark the 16 days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence by continuing to support, care, and tend to those women who need hope and a plan to live free of fear and violence.