rabble is expanding our Parliamentary Bureau and we need your help! Support us on Patreon today!
Exiting the SkyTrain in downtown Vancouver yesterday threw you into a frenzied Christmas world. The streets were lined with eager spectators for the annual Santa Claus parade and holiday festivities had already begun on one side of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Thousands of people were gathered to make ornaments, decorate gingerbread men, listen to live performances and wave to Santa has he paraded on by.
Yet on the other side of that same art gallery was a quieter, more humble gathering. December 6 marked the annual National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women and a comparatively small group met to participate in the 13th annual Shoe Memorial.
The contrast was significant and represented just how overlooked issues of violence against women truly are.
Across Canada, organizers of Shoe Memorials aimed to change that and serve as a reminder of the thousands of women in Canada who have been victims of violence.
Hundreds of shoes lined the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery to represent the women who lost their lives to violence. After the event, the shoes were then given to women in need both directly and indirectly.
"What can you say? Women are dying. We are losing women for no reason at all," said event founder Pat Kelln.
Kelln started the event 13 years ago when she was tired of hearing more about the perpetrators in the media than the women who were killed. The common goal of these shoe memorials across the country is to remember and honour the names of the victims. Their names are listed both on the Shoe Memorial website, and at the December 6 events.
In the past 25 years, 950 women have gone missing or have been murdered in B.C. alone. In addition, according to YWCA Canada, there are 460,000 sexual assaults in Canada every year. Yet out of every 1,000 sexual assaults, only 33 are reported to the police.
To address these significant numbers and cycles of violence, Kelln encouraged individuals at the event to consider how they can work towards ending violence against women. Suggestions included listening to women's stories, breaking the silence by speaking out against violence, promoting gender equality, recognizing and addressing negative media images, and mentoring young men.
The event was put on in partnership with We Can BC. Collaboration continued throughout the day with Reel Causes as they screened the critically acclaimed NFB documentary Status Quo? The Unfinished Business of Feminism in Canada.
To see the Shoe Memorial's compiled list names of the women who are missing or who have been murdered in Canada, visit their website www.shoememorial.com.
Alyse is a Vancouver-based writer and editor with a passion for social justice, storytelling and tea. She studied English Literature and Global Development at Queen's University and believes in the ability to make positive changes through media that digs deep, asks questions and shares narratives. Alyse was the Editor of Servants Quarters and has written for the Queen's News Centre, Quietly Media and the Vancouver Observer.
Thank you for reading this story…
More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.
rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.
So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.
And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.