1st Session, 44th Parliament
Volume 153, Issue 8

Tuesday, December 7, 2021
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker

Violence against Women

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to the urgent need to all violence against women and girls. As you all know, yesterday, December 6, marked a very significant day of commemoration in the fight against female violence. Thirty years and one day ago on December 6, 1989, 14 young women were killed by misogynistic, senseless and indefensible violence. These 14 women were attending L’École Polytechnique and working on obtaining their engineering education when a man decided to open fire in their classroom and killed them just because they were women.

Honourable senators, there are many types of violence against women. They include intimate partner violence, which includes battering, psychological abuse, marital rape and femicide; sexual violence and harassment, meaning rape, forced sexual acts, unwanted sexual advances, child sexual abuse, forced marriage, street harassment, stalking and cyberharassment; human trafficking, which can mean slavery, sexual and exploitation; child marriage; and female genital mutilation.

In 1997, the Government of Canada passed a law to amend the Criminal Code and have female genital mutilation recognized as a form of aggravated assault. Unfortunately, this legislation has never been enforced in Canada. Female genital mutilation happens in over 90 countries and on every continent. The End FGM Canada Network estimates that there are more than 100,000 survivors across Canada, and possibly thousands of girls remain at risk.

Honourable senators, December 7 falls within the United Nations’ annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. Today, yesterday and every day we remember the urgent need to end violence against women in all of its sinister forms.

According to the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability:

. . . 92 women and girls were killed in Canada in the first six months of 2021, up from 78 during the same period in 2020 and 60 in 2019.

Honourable senators, this is not an issue of the past. It is a present issue, and without serious action it will continue in the future. Let us work together to ensure our granddaughters are not facing the same violence our mothers faced, our sisters faced and our daughters face. Thank you, senators.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.