This past week in Ontario alone, five women have been murdered in situations of domestic violence – by their ex-boyfriend, their husband or the husband of their daughter. This is a chilling reminder that domestic and gender-based violence is a lived reality for many and despite violent crime rates dropping, violence against women is not.
One of these women, Holly Hamilton, is the daughter of a member of Unifor Local 504 – a long-term care worker. Holly’s ex-boyfriend has been charged with second degree murder in her death. Her four-year-old daughter is now with our member, the girl’s grandmother.
Across Canada, a woman is murdered every six days by her current or former partner. We must continue to demand action for women’s equality and to stop all forms of gender-based violence. On the eve of the Women’s March on Saturday, January 20 I ask each and every one of you to join me in taking action.
To make a difference, join me in taking action by:
1. Attending the Women’s Marches across the country tomorrow and raising your voice for equality and justice.
2. Speaking up to stop sexism and derogatory comments and harassment in the workplace and in your community.
3. Raising gender equality at the bargaining table and ensure we use our bargaining power towards economic security for women (in addition to negotiating the women’s advocate program).
4. Prioritizing equality in your local union, your workplace and your community, by advancing the concerns of marginalized groups who are often excluded and supporting survivors of violence.
Everything that each of you can do today can make a difference to define a future where gender based violence no longer exists, and I want to thank you in advance for joining me in taking these actions.
While faced with devastating stories like that of Holly Hamilton, the situation may seem hopeless and overwhelming but I believe we can and will make a difference today and for future generations if we wholeheartedly commit to doing so.
Please, take action and continue to loudly advocate for a present and future free from gender-based violence.