Ottawa December 6, 2010: The World Sikh Organization of Canada commemorates the National Day of Remembrance and Action Violence Against Women. On December 6, 1989, a gunman opened fire and took the lives of 14 innocent young women at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal.
On this day, we face some very grim statistics about violence against women in Canada:
• on average, 178 females were killed every year between 1994 and 2008;
• in 2008, there were 146 female victims of homicide in Canada. Of these, 45 were victims of spousal homicide; and
• young women are particularly vulnerable. Between 1997 and 2006, young women (aged 15 to 24) were killed at a rate nearly three times higher than for all female victims of spousal homicide. During the same period, the rate of sexual assault for girls (under age 18) by family members was four times higher than for boys.
These numbers are tragically far too high.
Guru Nanak the founder of the Sikh faith declared the complete equality of all women and men 500 years ago and the Sikh faith makes no distinction between gender, caste or class.
All Canadians and particularly the Sikh community, in light of the teachings of Guru Nanak, have a duty to speak out against bullying, harassment and discrimination of any kind. The grim statistics we see today can only change when we recognize the problem and work together to address it.
The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of the Sikh Diaspora, as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status
Gian Singh Sandhu