Violence Against Women

December 15, 1997

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Violence Against Women
Violence Against Women
dated December 15, 1997

Violence Against Women
More than 500 people gathered in front of Toronto City Hall to remember women who were victims of violence. The candle light vigil commemorated the eighth anniversary of the Montreal massacre, in which a gunman killed 14 women. The vigil had significant meaning for CAW sister, Marilyn Lesperance. She told of how the murder of a Windsor restaurant hostess at the hands of a male co-worker, in 1955, impacted on a nine year old girl and her family.

Marilyn Lesperance

"Following the death of this woman the father climbed into a bottle and he never came out. He was an alcoholic, which had a profound effect on his children. It was a terrible struggle for those three children to carry on. I know this because that little nine year old girl in the newspaper was me, and the woman's name was Betty Lesperance, my mother."
"If I have anything to convey to you today it is never forget. This is not a new phenomena. Violence against women has been going on for centuries and thank God we have heightened awareness of this."

The anniversary of the Montreal Massacre fell in the middle of a 16 day world campaign to eliminate violence against women. At the same time changes are underway which will not lessen the impact of violence against women. The irony was not lost on Toronto Mayor Barbara Hall, herself a victim of violence.

Barbara Hall
Toronto Mayor

"We know that the whole range of community supports that women who are experiencing violence require are at great risk. We know that we have a housing crisis and we know that housing is an essential part of escaping violence and yet both the provincial government and the federal government have turned their backs on meeting the housing needs of Canadians."

The CAW has made great strides in collective bargaining with the Big Three Automakers in the area of women's rights in the workplace. Acknowledging that economic pressures on social safety nets are fueling an increase in violence against women, CAW National President, Buzz Hargrove said remembering simply isn't enough.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

"We can commit ourselves today as part of our on going commitment on this important social issue facing our sisters is that all of us will make a priority in our bargaining to bring these programs in place that again will show our sisters that we truly believe in ending violence against women."

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."

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