Not so light and frothy today, but important.
Since 1991, December 6th has been officially designated the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada.
The day chosen is significant. In 1989, 14 young women were murdered at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal for no other reason than the fact that they WERE women.
While much has occurred in Canada since then to try to eliminate violence against women, the statistics continue to be chilling and alarming.
Across Canada today, vigils will be held where the names of these 14 innocent women will be read aloud, a testament to our commitment to remember.
But it isn't enough. These 14 names should be familiar to all Canadians, but especially to young men and women. They should be able to recite them and repeat them like a mantra, building on the work that has been done for the past 24 years.
I can't help but feel that our society exploits young men and women. They are sold sex and violence and alienation at every turn. While most are able to compartmentalize what they are fed, some cannot. Many were victims and abuse themselves and repeat the cycle.
This Autumn, Barry has been part of a committee organizing a white ribbon march for this coming Monday, December 9th.
What is the white ribbon march?
White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, promote gender equity, healthy relationships, and a new vision of masculinity. Starting in 1991, White Ribbon asked men to wear white ribbons as a pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls. Since then the White Ribbon has spread to over 60 countries around the world. We work to examine the root causes of gender based violence and create a cultural shift that helps bring us to a future without violence. Our vision is for a masculinity that embodies the best qualities of being human. We believe that men are part of the solution, and part of a future that is safe and equitable for all people.
Through education, awareness raising, outreach, technical assistance, capacity building, partnerships and creative campaigns, White Ribbon is helping create tools, strategies and models that challenge negative, outdated concepts of manhood and inspire men to understand and embrace the incredible potential they have to be a part of positive change.
I am proud of Barry for being part of this important work and of all the other men who are stepping forward to say "there must be another way".
Violence against Women will only stop when we all take a united stand that says "enough - there will be no more" and no one has any doubt about the consequences.
I will not forget.