Renewing our commitment to end gender-based violence

December 03, 2019

Sadly, gender-based discrimination and violence remain major issues around the globe, ones that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has called the biggest human rights abuse of our times.

This December 6th, as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women marks three decades since the massacre of 14 women engineering students in Montreal, it is important to recognize that women and girls continue to be victims of widespread violence, and that we redouble our efforts to counter this disturbing reality.

At Simon Fraser University, we have created a Policy on Sexual Violence and Misconduct Prevention, Education and Support to prevent and address sexual violence on our campuses.

We have also opened a Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office (SVSPO) to provide leadership, education and support to the university community. It offers free and confidential services to those facing or at risk of abuse. These services include information and advice, personalized safety planning, referrals to on and off campus supports, and assistance in navigating court processes.

The SVSPO will hold a memorial vigil outside the Women’s Centre on Burnaby campus at noon on Friday. The vigil will begin with a walk to the Memorial Bench located outside the Applied Sciences Building. I encourage all who can, to participate as a means of expressing solidarity with victims of gender violence in Canada and around the globe.

It’s worth noting that the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women is concerned not only with physical abuse; it is also directed against emotional and psychological abuse.

Eliminating all these forms of gender-based violence must be our priority, not just on December 6th, but every day.