National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DECEMBER 6, 2011

Cullen calls for communities to work together to end tragedies

OTTAWA Today marks the 20th anniversary of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. December 6 has become a day to reflect on the many forms of violence that women experience across Canada, and a chance to take renewed action to stop it.

“My riding is no exception to this tragedy just because we are a collection of small, remote communities,” said Nathan Cullen (MP Skeena-Bulkley Valley).

He noted that at least 30 women have gone missing or been murdered while travelling along the so-called Highway of Tears, which runs right through the riding.

“We remain ever vigilant of the horrific dangers that young women in the Northwest face along the Highway of Tears.”

Most of the murdered and missing women in the Highway of Tears cases are aboriginal. Across Canada even more aboriginal women have gone missing and been murdered. The Sisters In Spirit Campaign of the Native Women’s Association of Canada puts the number of victims at 582.

“Violence against women has to stop,” said Cullen. “It absolutely has to stop.

Cullen noted December 6 is also a sombre reminder to northerners of the tragic 2010 murder of 15-year-old Loren Donn Leslie of Fraser Lake. The 21-year-old male suspect in her case has been since charged with three other counts of first-degree murder of young women in the Prince George area. In an unrelated case that has gripped the North, police and family members continue to search for 20-year-old Madison Scott, who disappeared 25 kilometres south of Vanderhoof without explanation last May.

“Women and girls simply cannot become the best they can be and cannot be full contributing members of society when their basic rights are violated and they are subject to repeated violence,” said Cullen.

Cullen pointed out that it takes full participation of everyone in the community to make change.

“As much as today is a day or remembrance for missing and murdered women, it is also a call to action,” Cullen said.

“We must all work together to put an end to violence against women.”