For Immediate Release
Dec 5, 2012
Dec 6, 2012 – National Day of Action on Violence Against Women:
British Columbia Refuses to Act
Vancouver, B.C., – On Dec 6, 2012, the National day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women, Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter (VRRWS) is outraged by the Provincial Government’s refusal to act on violence against women.
According to Vancouver Rape Relief some of the most egregious examples of the BC government’s failure to protect women from male violence include: shutting out of equality-seeking women’s groups from the Missing Women’s Commission of Inquiry, persistently unlivable income assistance rates, the prevailing sexist attitudes towards women within police forces and the lack of core funding for local rape crisis centres. Hilla Kerner, spokeswoman for VRRWS: “Shutting out women’s groups from the Missing Women’s Inquiry was part of corrupted process that prevented any chance for accountability and future systemic change in the criminal justice system. We expect that Commissioner Oppal’s report will do nothing to either advance women’s equality or the state’s protection of women from male violence.”
“The provincial income assistance rate is absurd” says Kerner, “women can’t leave abusive husbands because what they will get from welfare is not enough to provide shelter and food for their children. Women resort to prostitution because what they get from welfare is far from being enough for even their most minimal needs. This government is directly responsible for women’s poverty and therefore for women’s vulnerability to violent men.”
As for the police, Kerner states: “It is clear that while women trust rape crisis centres and transition houses to assist them after they are attacked, they do not trust the police. In the past months we have learned that a police officer created pornographic images that sexualize horrifying acts of violence against women. In addition, The RCMP’s top recruiter in our province expects female officers to endure sexual harassment. The decrease of sexist violence reported to the police is evidence of the lack of trust women have in the police.”
About the lack of funding to rape crisis centres Kerner points out: “In the past year alone, 1,200 women called Vancouver Rape Relief’s crisis line to seek our support in escaping violent men yet neither our rape crisis centre nor any other rape crisis centre in British Columbia receives core funding to secure its existence and continue to work with and for women who’ve been sexually assaulted.”
The National day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women is a pan-Canadian response to the deliberate murder of fourteen women engineering students at the L’Ecole Polytechnique in 1989, by a man who declared his hatred of feminists before he shot the women students.
Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter is Canada’s first rape crisis centre. We operate a 24 hour rape crisis line and transition house for battered women and their children.
Images of “Calls to Action”- 100 life-sized silhouettes, representing calls made to the crisis line of Vancouver Rape Relief and women’s Shelter in one month, with each representing a caller.
The display took place in the Montreal Massacre Memorial, at the Vancouver Public Library, Dec 1, 2012.
Media Contact: Hilla Kerner, 604-872-8212, firstname.lastname@example.org