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Thursday, December 6, 2012

December 6th A Day to Remember, Mourn and Take Action

ST. JOHN’S – Members of NAPE’s Women’s Committee will be showcasing local silhouettes at the December 6th vigil being held at Memorial University this evening, in commemoration of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women in Canada. Each silhouette bears the name of a NAPE member who was killed in an act of violence.

According to NAPE President Carol Furlong, the silhouettes being exhibited are part of the Silent Witness Project which is a travelling exhibit of life-size red wooden silhouettes. Each silhouette represents a woman who was murdered by someone she knew. Because these women no longer have a voice, the silhouettes are called the silent witnesses. The campaign originated in the United States in 1990 when women’s groups and artists in Minnesota resolved to commemorate and honour women murdered as a result of domestic violence. NAPE played a pivotal role in bringing the silent witness project to Newfoundland and Labrador in 2005 by being the first to display the silhouettes.

“The silhouettes have particular meaning since they identify women in this province, women who were our co-workers, our friends and family,” stated Furlong. “One silhouette represents a woman who finished her shift and returned on a stretcher hours later having been beaten so badly her co-workers said they did not recognize her. Another silhouette represents a worker and union activist who sought safety by fleeing to her daughter on the mainland, a daughter who would come home and find her mother had been followed and shot to death. They were our co-workers, they are real people, and the violence and tragedies of these women make the day of action all that more personal and powerful.”

December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada. Established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, this day marks the anniversary of the massacre in 1989 of 14 young women at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. They died because they were women.

As well as commemorating the 14 young women whose lives ended in an act of gender-based violence that shocked the nation, December 6 represents an opportunity for everyone in our society to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women and its impact in our communities. It is also a time to consider the women and girls for whom violence is a daily reality, and to remember those who have died as a result of gender-based violence. And finally, it is a day on which communities, governments, and organizations must consider concrete actions to eliminate all forms of violence against women in our society.

“The national day of mourning and the silent witness project are not only about remembrance and mourning, they must also be a call to action to end violence against women everywhere, once and for all,” said Furlong.

Furlong also stated that NAPE will be participating in the provincial government’s Purple Ribbon Campaign which was developed to help create awareness and prevent violence against women in the province and is encouraging all members to display the purple ribbons as a show of support.

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