Anyone driving along Westside Road Wednesday or through Enderby would have seen a lot of red dresses but they weren’t about fashion. They sent a very strong message that violence against women will not be tolerated.
The Red Dress Walk for Awareness is an annual event that highlights the untold numbers of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls across Canada.
“In the last two years, we have had five women taken from our community. Two were murdered and three are still missing in our community,” said Splatsin member Deanna Cook referring to Caitlin Potts, Ashley Simpson and Deanna Wertz.
Obviously violence against all women, no matter their background, is shocking, but the situation facing indigenous women points to a broader, systemic problem in our nation.
According to the Native Women’s Association of Canada, indigenous women made up three per cent of the country’s female population in 2008, but suffered roughly 10 per cent of all female homicides that year.
The Red Dress walks come at the same time that National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women is travelling the country. Hopefully that process will ultimately detail the reasons why indigenous women fall victim to violence more frequently, and also provide a course of action for communities, individuals and government to take.
Because in the end, violence against our mothers, daughters, sisters, spouses and friends is not acceptable.
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