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December 6, National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

Dec 6, 2017

December 6, National Day of Remembrance and Action on

Violence Against Women

Moncton – 2017 marks the 28th anniversary of the December 6, 1989 Ecole Polythechnique massacre where 14 young women lost their lives simply because they were women. Each year, on December 6, we take a moment to mourn these 14 young women and all women and girls who were killed or experienced various forms of violence in their homes, their communities and workplaces. We also take this time to renew our commitment to work for change and to build a society based on respect, equality and peace.

This year, in the wake of #MeToo and in recognition that too many women experience sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence at work, the New Brunswick Federation of Labour is issuing a challenge to governments, to unions, and to all men in the labour movement.

The onus is on all of us, every day of the year, to take a stand on violence against women and girls. We know that harassment and violence are all too common in our workplaces. We also know that it happens in our movement, and we have to change the culture that allows this to happen. We have to act differently, to break down some of the barriers, to support women and others who come forward to disclose their experiences. We have to make it safe for them to do so. Survivors should not have to further expose themselves in order to see change. We must end our own complicity and our self-imposed silence, not just by reaching out to victims, but by calling out sexist and harassing behaviour when we see it happen. If we are truly going to eliminate violence against women, we all need to step up.

We need to acknowledge our complicity in perpetuating a culture that tolerates toxic masculinity. We also need to recognize the connections between gender-based violence and other forms of discrimination and violence that workers experience. The barriers and the risks of disclosure can be much greater for racialized women, Indigenous women, women with disabilities, trans and non-binary folk. Breaking down barriers starts with recognizing that not everyone experiences discrimination, violence and harassment in the same way. We need to make a commitment to change in our workplaces, but also in our own organizations.

We can be proud of the work the labour movement has already done. For decades, unions have been negotiating collective agreement language on sexual harassment, and raising awareness of all forms of gender based violence at work.

Finally, we encourage all of you to attend the December 6th activities organized in your region and support the numerous campaigns of our partners to end violence against women and girls.

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The New Brunswick Federation of Labour is New Brunswick’s largest central labour body representing 40,000 members of both public sector and private sector labour unions.

Patrick Colford                                                                                       Shanny Doucet

President, NBFL                                                                                     NBFL Vice-President responsible for Women’s Issues
(506) 857-2125 / (506) 381-8969 (cell)                                                  (506) 227-9900 (cell)