FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15, 2017
Statement on the Death of Victoria Head
The St. John’s Status of Women Council and the Safe Harbour Outreach Project (SHOP) extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Victoria Head.
We support the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary in issuing their media release because all too often in our province and across our country the murder of sex workers goes unnoticed and unrecorded.
We are heartbroken at the news of another woman murdered in our community. This is the third woman in our province who has been murdered in less than six months. We know their names: Cortney Lake, Ryanna Grywacheski and Victoria Head. At this time, the In Her Name list of missing and murdered women and girls now sits at 122.
We must acknowledge that the horrendous levels of violence against women in our province is a threat to the general public. Violence against women devastates families and communities, and carries a huge social and economic cost.
Of the 217,900 women over the age of 15 residing in Newfoundland and Labrador, approximately 108,950 (one in two) will experience at least one incident of sexual or physical violence throughout their lifetime. Approximately 10 per cent (10,895) of these women will report this victimization to police.
When we continue to view women who do sex work as disposable, we allow them to be targeted for violence, stigma, and death. We must be clear that sex work is not what killed Victoria Head, it’s the environment we create when we continue to see sex workers as disposable and not provide them access to basic human rights of health care, safety, justice, and housing.
Once again, we call for a Provincial Task Force on gender-based violence that has the strength to change policy and legislation, mobilize resources, and provide the education and awareness we need to turn the tide against violence women and girls face in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“There is a disgraceful history of violence against women who engage in sex work in our city, underscored by the ways in which sex workers are stigmatized and seen as separate from our everyday communities. Sadly, we know that stigma kills.”
Program Coordinator, SHOP
“Violence against women and girls in our province is at a crisis level. We need the political will at all levels of government now to come to the table to address what is clearly a human rights issue.”
Executive Director, St. John’s Status of Women Council
St. John’s Status of Women Council
Safe Harbour Outreach Project
About St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre
The St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre is a feminist organization that since 1972 is continually working to achieve equality and justice through political activism, community collaboration and the creation of a safe and inclusive space for all women in the St. John’s area. The St. John’s Status of Women Council operates the Women’s Centre, Marguerite’s Place Supportive Housing Program and the Safe Harbour Outreach Project.
About Safe Harbour Outreach Project
The Safe Harbour Outreach Project (SHOP) exists to advocate for the human rights of sex workers. SHOP serves women for whom sex work is an occupation; we also serve women who are in the industry not by choice, who are wishing to exit. We provide front line support, system navigation and outreach from a harm reduction approach.