A Red Dress from last year’s memorial. Photo submitted.

Golden Women’s Resource Centre partcipates in 16 Days of Activism

The Golden Women’s Resource Centre is participating in the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign.

It started on Monday, November 25 and will conclude on Tuesday, December 10. The campaign began on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and concludes on International Human Rights Day.

Initiated in 1991 by the Women’s Global Leadership Institute, the campaign seeks to shine a light on gender-based violence and what it looks like in a modern society. For 16 days, women’s centres internationally seek to educate on gender-based violence and how to prevent it, and start difficult conversations that need to happen.

“We need to start to recognize how gender- based violence is normalized in our society,” said Linley McLean, the outreach coordinator and executive director at Golden’s Women’s Resource Centre. “It’s very prevalent in popular culture, so if people can start reflecting on it, or even just noticing it instead of just accepting it, we can think critically and stop accepting it as normal.”

The Golden Women’s Resource Centre is primarily trying to raise awareness by sharing posts and articles from the United Nations everyday through social media. These posts seek to educate on different issues each day, and help inform people about how they can get involved and do their part to eliminate gender-based violence.

“We’re trying to take a look at gender-based violence and talk about who it impacts,” said McLean. “We want to show what it looks like in our society and what we can do about all these things.”

For McLean, it’s important to recognize how gender-based violence is experienced disproportionately by indigenous women in Canada. It’s why she’s partnered with the Metis Nation Columbia River Society to help shine a light on the missing and murdered indigenous women.

Together, they will be erecting a memorial on Friday, December 6 outside the post office.

The memorial is in honour of the fourteen victims of the Ecole Polytechnique massacre on December 6, 1989. There will also be a symbolic red dress, as a part of the Red Dress Project, which seeks to honour missing and murdered indigenous women.

There will be a ceremony held at the memorial at noon, for anyone who wishes to join.

“We know that one of the pressing issues in our country right now when it comes to gender based violence is the missing and murdered indigenous women,” said McLean. “I think it’s important to recognize that it’s happening in real time, it’s not just happening in the past, it’s happening now.”

For McLean, one of the biggest points she wants to get across for the 16 Days campaign is that there needs to be a shift in the language we use to ensure that we aren’t blaming victims of gender-based violence.

She also encourages people to engage with the campaign online, and to increase awareness by sharing posts and starting a dialogue on social media.

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