U Waterloo stabbing shows we have work to do on gender-based violence

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Rally group holing up trans and pride flags

Unifor is sending solidarity and empathy to the University of Waterloo community following yesterday’s stabbing on campus.

Accounts of the perpetrator’s entrance into a classroom describe him asking about the subject of the class, and upon hearing it was a philosophy course on gender issues, proceeding to close the classroom door, pull out two knives and attack the professor and students, leaving three injured.

With disturbing echoes of the 1989 gender-based attack at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, the University of Waterloo stabbing is a sadly predictable escalation of attacks on trans, queer and gender-diverse people by politicians, public figures and right-wing hate groups that foster division and hate.

We must call out those who use attacks against trans and queer people as rallying cries, and we must un-seat politicians who seek to dismantle human rights protections for 2SLGBTQIA+ people and other equity deserving people. The hysteria being carefully crafted by far-right strategists to distract us from their profiteering and self-enrichment comes at the cost of our humanity.

Unions and other progressive organizations have been fighting for decades to eliminate violence in many ways. From advocating for high-level systemic efforts like supporting evidence-based policies like Policy 713 in New Brunswick, and urging the federal government to accelerate funding for the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, to daily person-to-person actions like naming misogyny, sexism and harassment whenever we see it.

This is a job for each and every one of us.

No one should feel unsafe at school. No one should fear violence in their workplace. And no one should be attacked on the basis of their gender identity or gender expression.

Our hearts are heavy for those who witnessed this attack and for all who face violence in all its forms.

Together, we must build a society that shuts down misogyny, that teaches acceptance, and that does not allow hate to thrive.

Unifor will remain resolute in its mission to end misogyny and gender-based violence as we build a better world for everyone.