Violence comes in many overlapping forms...
Disproportionately, women and girls suffocate in the folds, especially racialized, Indigenous, elderly, LGBTQIA2s+ and low-income women. Today and every day, we centre their stories to eliminate gender-based violence.
Just as they’re expected to provide the most care for our communities, women are also expected to absorb the most abuse. On International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (Nov. 25) we consider how institutions unfairly use these two perfunctory roles to justify each other in a cycle no less vicious than violence itself, and we disrupt that cycle.
Across borders, cultures and demographics, we look at the scars (visible and otherwise) inflicted on women’s lives, bodies, and work, and we commit to healing them, together. We create spaces for survivors to re-open their wounds, and we centre their experiences, so that they don’t have to relive the generational and personal pain alone.
Women’s scars often contain other people’s stories, including the stories of abuse their own perpetrators might have unjustly suffered. We open ourselves to these stories today, but not with a mind to excuse gender-based violence, rather to tackle injustice on all fronts and alleviate the work women do daily to heal other people’s traumas while they’re haunted by their own.
Finally, while Nov. 25 is about honouring the strength that women have been forced to accrue in the face of violence, it is also about creating a world where they don’t have to be an endless source of strength. It’s about building a future where their bodies and minds are not just vessels for a community’s pains and grief but are celebrated as a diverse and vibrant part of the human experience.
By healing women’s wounds, we take steps towards healing other wounds because misogyny and patriarchy are inextricable from all other forms of injustice. In corporate greed, in the demolishment of Indigenous rights, in red-lining racialized communities, in homophobia, transphobia and xenophobia, we see patriarchal values of competitiveness, cash-over-community and control crystalize. We also see in these injustices how women (or feminized people) in underserved communities are the targets of both sexism and other prejudices.
As a union, AUPE is committed to battling these injustices head-on. We must prioritize eliminating violence against women. We remember that violence takes many forms — political, sexual, economic, emotional, mental and physical — and we actively build a community of care and support that leaves no room for any of it.