Ottawa, Monday, November 26, 2012 – Most teenage girls and young women who leave home are trying to escape sexual abuse and violence, says YWCA Canada, but when they hit the street, they don’t find safety. Violence and abuse lie in wait, along with a high risk of poverty, addiction and prison. The country’s single largest provider of shelter services for women and children fleeing violence launches the 2012 Rose Campaign to end violence against women and girls today in Ottawa with a call for action on homeless girls and the support of the Native Women’s Association of Canada and the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies.
“Surviving violence shouldn’t be a life sentence,” says YWCA CEO Paulette Senior, “yet without supports, teenage girls who leave home to escape abuse face a lifetime of trouble. These girls need swift support. They need a safe place to live, and a chance to complete their education. Our prisons are stuffed with young mothers whose crime is poverty, and women whose mental health has been impacted by the trauma of childhood abuse. We are asking every community – what will you do? And we are calling on the federal government to realize their June 2011 promise to address violence against women and girls.”
“It’s unacceptable that in Canada, Aboriginal women are five times more likely to die from a violent crime,” says Michèle Audette, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada. “I welcome everyone, our governments and our Aboriginal leaders, to end this violence! Furthermore, we cannot remain silent on the federal government’s inaction to address the national tragedy of our Stolen Sisters. Join me and sign NWAC’s petition because behind every statistic, there’s a family mourning and systemic discrimination. We demand a national public inquiry to shed light on the 600 missing and murdered women over the last 25 years!”
“Canada’s jails are not appropriate housing for women, especially those traumatized by abuse and violence,” says Kim Pate, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, “yet our prisons are full of young Indigenous women struggling with next generation legacies of residential schools and systemic discrimination. Jails are not residential treatment centres for women with addictions or mental health issues. Women are entitled to healing and safe homes. A prison cell is not a home.”
Women across political parties are uniting for the launch of the annual Rose Campaign, which occurs in more than 30 communities nation-wide, and runs until December 6. For more information, visit rosecampaign.ca.
Read the whole Press Release & Media Advisory below.