Toronto, ON – The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women is an important day that honours the victims of the Montréal École Polytechnique tragedy where 14 young women lost their lives, and 13 others were injured on December 6, 1989.
Today is a reminder that violence against women continues to persist in our society. Femicide is still occurring at a rate of 1 woman or girl every 48 hours (Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability, 2022). For Indigenous women, they are six times more likely than a non-Indigenous woman to be murdered in Canada. Numerous municipalities have declared Intimate Partner Violence an epidemic. Indigenous women and their organizations have continued calls for action to address these unacceptable levels of violence and murder.
Although statistics cannot convey the true realities of violence experienced by Indigenous women and girls, these numbers highlight how Indigenous women are disproportionately impacted by violence due to the systemic racism and discrimination that they continue to experience.
- Between 2009 and 2021, the rate of homicide against First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women and girls was six times higher than the rate among their non-Indigenous counterparts (Statistics Canada, October 2023).
- In Canada, statistics show that Indigenous women and girls are 12 times more likely to go missing or be murdered than any other women in Canada (Reclaiming Power & Place, 2019)
- Homicides of Indigenous women and girls are less likely to result in the most serious murder charges than cases in which victims were non-Indigenous (Statistics Canada, October 2023).
- 63% of Indigenous women have faced physical or sexual assault (Statistics Canada, April 2022)
- 56% of Indigenous women have experienced physical assault, while 46% of Indigenous women have experienced sexual assault in their lifetime (Statistics Canada, April 2022)
- In 2018, the rates of sexual assault against Indigenous women were more than 3 times higher than among non-Indigenous women (Survey of Safety in Public and Private Spaces, Dec 2018)
ONWA calls on all governments and communities to take action against violence towards Indigenous women and to create safety for Indigenous women. All communities have a collective responsibility to change these statistics. Indigenous women have the fundamental right to live in safety and to a future free from gender-based violence.
“Indigenous women are targeted with violence because of race and gender. This needs to stop. We must begin building new communities where Indigenous women are safe through action at the individual, family, and community level.” – Cora McGuire-Cyrette, CEO, ONWA
ONWA’s Reconciliation with Indigenous Women: Changing the Story of MMIWG (2020) identifies actions in a detailed report outlining key areas of concern and recommendations for moving forward in ending violence against Indigenous women and girls.
Today is also known as White Ribbon Day, which is a Canadian movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, promote gender equity, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity. Today, ONWA honours the men and boys who support Indigenous women and girls. ONWA encourages all men and boys to take the pledge: “I pledge never to commit, condone, or remain silent about violence against women.” Furthermore, we call on Indigenous men and boys to join us in standing up against violence.
To learn more about how you can help end violence against the women in your life, and for more resources more go to:
If you or a loved one are experiencing violence or domestic abuse, please contact Talk4Healing. They offer 24/7 help, support, and resources for Indigenous women by Indigenous women.
Call or text 1-855-554-HEAL (4324) or visit https://talk4healing.com/
For more information and media inquiries, contact:
Andre Morriseau, Communications Manager
Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA)