Ottawa, Ontario, Friday, April 26th, 2013 – Dozens of Canadian Senators will be debating the global crisis of violence against women and children before they rise for the summer break in late June.
Nova Scotia Senator Donald Oliver, a recognized expert in Human Rights and Diversity, set down an Inquiry in the Senate of Canada on Tuesday, April 23rd for Senators to address and debate the issue.
The Inquiry reads:
“I will call the attention of the Senate to the need to engage in a national conversation to call for the elimination of violence against women, of all ages, in all its forms including physical, sexual, or psychological abuse, and, in particular, on how we, as a national legislative body, can take the lead in educating, preventing, increasing national and global awareness on gender equality and reaffirming that violence against women constitutes a violation of the rights and fundamental freedoms of each individual.”
Senator Oliver reminded Canadians in his opening statement on Tuesday that violence against women impacts more than 200,000 Canadian women and girls every year, including 8,200 girls under the age of 12 and 27,000 female youth.
As the Senator said, the extent of this pandemic is much worse than we think because these numbers are based on police-reported data only. Many other cases of violence against women are not reported to the appropriate authorities. He also added that, on average, every six days, a woman in Canada is murdered by her intimate partner.
He also told the Senate that, according to international data, six out of ten women in the world will have experienced some form of physical or sexual abuses in their lifetime. One in five women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape at some point in her life.
Senator Oliver believes that the Senate of Canada is the ideal place to have a fulsome debate on this important issue that has been attracting national and international attention. As he said on Tuesday, “we have an opportunity before us to lead the way… and work on education and prevention, increase awareness and reaffirm that violence against women of all ages constitutes a violation of the rights and fundamental freedoms of each individual.
Éric G-L Gagnon