Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

2nd Session, 37th Parliament,
Volume 140, Issue 8

Tuesday, October 22, 2002
The Honourable Lucie Pépin, Speaker pro tempore

Violence Against Women

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, the YMCA has chosen this week to highlight violence and to unite Canadians against violence in our communities, especially violence that targets women. At least 51 per cent of all Canadian women have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence. This is unacceptable. Last year, more than 75,000 Canadians participated in over 150 activities organized by local YWCAs. I am pleased to inform honourable senators that the National Board of the YWCA joins us here in the chamber today.

The YWCA is the largest service organization for women in Canada. Violence against women is an obstacle to the achievement of equality, social progress and social stability. Not only does this violate women’s rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but it also impacts women’s ability to grow and develop into healthy, well-adjusted, contributing members of Canadian society.

Violence against women happens everywhere: at home, in schools and in the workplace. It can take many forms — emotional, psychological, sexual and physical — and it affects a woman’s sense of self, her self-confidence and self-esteem. A victim of violence is more likely to suffer from chronic health

problems, including depression, eating and anxiety disorders. She is more prone to hospitalization and suicide. Her experience makes it more difficult for her to maintain a job and enjoy financial security. In effect, it imprisons her in a vicious cycle.

Violence is a trauma that many suffer in silence. Aboriginal women and women of minority status are particularly vulnerable. To stop this violence in our society, we need to take action. We need to speak about violence in order to influence values and attitudes and change behaviour.

Honourable senators, the YWCA’s Week Without Violence reminds us all of the work that still remains with regard to violence against women.