A collaboration of the St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre, the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre, the NL Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre, and Violence Prevention – Avalon East. The names of more than 120 women and girls of Newfoundland and Labrador will be read aloud to be honoured and remembered. This list contains the names of Indigenous and non-Indigenous women and girls.
For Immediate Release
October 4, 2018
There has been a significant rise in the rates of domestic and sexual violence in Newfoundland and Labrador. In advance of the In Her Name vigil for missing and murdered women and girls of NL, the St. John’s Status of Women Council and St. John’s Native Friendship Centre are calling once again for the establishment of a provincial task force on gender-based violence. The Provincial Action Network on the Status of Women (PANSOW) is fully supporting this call to action.
We wish to see the establishment of a task force that is well-resourced, which includes a budget, staffing, strong terms of reference, and ministerial level accountability. If we are to see tangible change in the levels of violence women and girls experience daily we must have the political will to drive significant changes in legislation, policy, and funding.
We are aware of the Minister’s Committee on Violence Against Women and Girls in Newfoundland and Labrador struck last year and support that community collaboration. The committee can be a significant and vital part of the work of the task force. However, a St. John’s-centric committee alone is simply not the right mechanism to deal with the magnitude of the issues of violence against women and girls in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Paula Sheppard Thibeau, PANSOW Co-chair and Executive Director, Corner Brook Status of Women Council:
“Only through a collaborative approach that includes stakeholders from various sectors and areas of the province can we reduce violence in our families and communities. The work of a gender-based violence task force must focus on strengthening efforts for early identification and intervention, and providing individuals affected with the necessary supports to gain economic, psychological, and physical well-being.”
Raelene Vickers, Executive Director, Mokami Status of Women Council:
“Violence against women and girls in Labrador is a massive concern that needs to be addressed through a province-wide task force on gender-based violence. Labrador communities have some of the highest rates of domestic violence across the country, and too many women are at risk. The cultural needs of Indigenous communities in Labrador must be included in a provincial plan to end gender-based violence. Women and girls in Labrador need to know that their safety and lives matter to the province.”
Paula Sheppard Thibeau
Corner Brook Status of Women Council
St. John’s Status of Women Council
PANSOW applies a provincial lens to issues of equality and ensure a public voice for women from a non-partisan, grassroots, and feminist perspective. PANSOW consists of the Executive Directors of all eight councils in Newfoundland and Labrador. PANSOW’s mandate is two-fold: To educate and build awareness on broad issues related to gender equity and justice in the province; and to advocate for change in government policy and legislation that facilitates gender equity and justice.
St. John’s, NL – One year ago, the organizers of the annual In Her Name vigil issued a call for the creation of a provincial task force on gender-based violence. The crowd that had gathered that evening listened as one by one, 117 names of our province’s missing and murdered women and girls were read aloud from the steps of the Colonial Building. We resolved to make change on their behalf, to end violence against women and girls.
That change has not been forthcoming. To date, there has been no movement on the establishment of a provincial task force. Through historical research and tips from the public and family members of those who have been lost to violence, this year’s list has now grown to include the names of 136 women and girls. Newfoundland and Labrador has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the country. Change is needed, and it’s needed now.
On Thursday, October 4, the St. John’s Status of Women Council and St. John’s Native Friendship Centre will join together in remembrance and will rally once more for action. The In Her Name vigil will take place at 6:30 p.m. in front of the Colonial Building at 90 Military Road in St. John’s. Jenelle Duval of Eastern Owl and Colleen Power will perform. The event will go ahead rain or shine and all are welcome.
Jenny Wright, Executive Director of the St. John’s Status of Women Council:
“A provincial task force on gender-based violence is past due. It is time to establish a well-resourced and fully funded task force to create a comprehensive plan to end violence against women and girls in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Amelia Reimer, Cultural Support Coordinator of the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre:
“In light of the ongoing National Inquiry into Missing/Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, it is extremely important to continue to shine a light on the violence Indigenous women face in this country. Indigenous women continue to experience violence at a much higher rate than non-Indigenous women. At the In Her Name vigil, we will come together as a province to remember all women and girls that have lost their lives to this violence, and we honour and respect that we are all ‘Sisters in Spirit,’ both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.”
The St. John’s Status of Women Council received support from Department of Justice Canada’s Victims and Survivors of Crime Week fund to establish the In Her Name Healing Garden at the St. John’s Women’s Centre this past summer. Families and loved ones will now have a place to gather and remember not just at the vigil, but throughout the year.
Individuals or groups who wish to volunteer or to read a name at the In Her Name vigil are invited to contact Amelia Reimer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre
Cultural Support Coordinator
St. John’s Native Friendship Centre