The National Farmers Union (NFU) is participating in 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. The campaign started on November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and continues until International Human Rights Day on December 10.
“We stand in solidarity with our global counterparts and add our voices to those of peasant farmers in our sister organizations in La Via Campesina,” said Coral Sproule, NFU President. “In Canada on December 6th, we recognize the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women and remember the 13 engineering students and one worker who were murdered by an act of gender-based violence at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal in 1989. We would also like to stand in solidarity at the many vigils that will take place this night in communities across Canada. We wish to acknowledge the disproportionate number of missing and murdered Indigenous women, and also of incidents involving members of the LGBTQ2 community.”
“Recently we have been hearing many stories of sexual assault and sexual harassment, as people are now more willing to come forward and speak about an issue that has far too long been silenced,” said Katie Ward, NFU Women’s President. “We add our voices to those who denounce any and all forms of gender based violence. We have seen a surge of stories that many of us know are all too common — of workplace, household, and everyday incidents of discrimination, harassment and violence against someone based on their gender (biological gender and gender identity or expression).”
“In particular, the rural communities where many of our members reside lack resources to support persons affected by gender based violence,” added Toby Malloy, NFU Women’s Advisory representative in Alberta. “We hope to work with our communities to increase both the awareness and resources needed to bring about positive change for everyone affected by any sort of violence or discrimination in rural Canada.”
“The National Farmers Union has taken concrete steps within the organization by adopting a comprehensive Harassment Policy along with a Code of Conduct and a Safe Spaces policy for our meetings. These mechanisms are now available to address issues related to gender based violence and discrimination,” noted Sproule. “We have also called for the reinstatement of the STC bus service (Saskatchewan’s rural public transportation system). Safe rural public transportation for people in rural communities in every province is needed to prevent violence against vulnerable travellers and to provide access to support services for isolated rural residents who need them.”
“This year we are sharing the theme of #MyActionsMatter and asking everyone to step up, call out, and speak up on issues involving gender based violence and sexism,” added Ward.
The National Farmers Union endorses, and encourages our members, Locals, and Regions to embrace the following actions as set out on the Status of Women Canada website:
- Listen – be open to learning from the experiences of others.
- Believe – support survivors and those affected by violence.
- Speak out – add your voice to call out violence.
- Intervene – find a safe way to help when you see acts of gender based violence.
- Act – give your time to organizations working to end violence, and be the change you want to see.
“Please share this information and do your part to put an end to gender based violence and empower the voices of victims who may have lived in silence far too long,” urged Sproule.
For more information:
Coral Sproule, NFU President: (613) 464-8945
Katie Ward, NFU Women’s President: (613) 797-0601
Toby Malloy, NFU Region 7 (Alberta) Women’s Advisory: (403) 601-9167 or firstname.lastname@example.org