In 1948, following the atrocities of the Second World War, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These universal standards recognize the dignity and worth of the human person and the equal rights of men and women. Their principles of freedom, justice and peace in the world have become international law.
Every person living on this Earth has, as an inherent human right to life, security, food, shelter, housing, equality before the law, education, health, political participation, citizenship and respect.
Tragically, women are not as safe and secure as men. According to the Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces, “The number of ‘missing’ women is as large as the estimated 191 million human beings who lost their lives in all the conflicts and wars of the 20th century combined.”
The United Nations has censured Canada for neglecting the disappearances of thousands of missing aboriginal women.
Around the world women suffer rape, domestic violence, trafficking, forced prostitution, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, female genital mutilation and forced marriage. Between 16 and 41 per cent of women are physically assaulted by a male partner in an intimate relationship.
This chronic and unacceptable level of violence against women finds its roots in the deeply entrenched inequalities in our economic, political, civil and social systems.
As long as the horrific levels of violence against women are not at the top of the national and international political agenda, women will gather annually to speak the truth, and to remember and honour our sisters who have been raped, or beaten, or killed.
On Friday September 18 in Whitehorse, women unite to take back the night. Women march in solidarity to assert our physical safety on the streets, and to demand safety in our homes and communities.
A life free of violence is every person’s right.
Women will gather Friday at Teagtha O’Zhea Park on Main Street at 7:30 p.m. for the Take Back the Night march, followed by a celebration with fine Yukon musicians, open to everyone, at the Old Fire Hall.