Thousands of people gathered all around Quebec to raise awareness of the increase in domestic violence during the pandemic
Quebecers joined together to stand against domestic violence on April 2. Thousands of protestors reunited around La Fontaine Park and walked down Mont-Royal Avenue as they shouted “Enough is enough, not one more.”
“In the past two months, a horrifying count has been witnessed — eight women have been murdered in the context of domestic violence in just eight weeks,” explained Ingrid Falaise, comedian, actress and one of the organizers of the event, during her speech.
Falaise emphasized that not only 13 women have lost their lives from either partners or former partners, but there have been 20 kids left as orphans and five suicide attempts reported by the media in Quebec since the beginning of the pandemic.
“Behind these women who have died, there are millions who daily live in fear and 300 more suicides not announced — enough is enough,” she insisted.
Executive director for the the Fédération des maisons d’hébérgement pour femmes, Manon Monastesse, led the crowd in honouring all of the women who died since the pandemic began, by repeating their names one-by-one: Johanne Corriveau, Sylvie F., Francine Lussier, Mary Saviadjuk, Françoise Côté, Elisapee Angma, Marly Édouard, Nancy Roy, Myriam Dallaire, Sylvie Bisson, Nadège Jolicoeur, Kataluk Paningayak-Naluiyuk and Rebekah Harry.
Collectively, Falaise, the Alliance des maisons d’hébergement de 2e étape, the Fédération des maisons d’hébérgement pour femmes, L’R des centres de femmes du Québec, and the Regroupement des maisons pour femmes victimes de violence conjugale openly spoke to support all women and urge that all forms of violence, psychological, economic, sexual or physical, are unacceptable and that a change must be made.
Viviane Michel, president of La Fédération des femmes autochtones du Québec, said that there is a lack of solutions and resources and turned her questions over to the government.
“How many times have you guys consulted us? How many memoirs have we submitted? How many solutions have we proposed to you against domestic violence, and we are still last on the list when it comes to budgeting?” Michel asked.
She points out that women need to feel safe and protected, which means more services and tools for women’s shelters.
Michel also suggests that it’s important to educate boys at a young age. She says that change starts by teaching boys what the word “respect” means and what it means to respect women and girls.
The march ended with the final words of other spokespeople, with thousands of protestors watching on.
Chantal Arsenault, president of Regroupement des maisons pour femmes victimes de violence conjugale, says that this movement can’t be done without the help of the feminist organizations specializing in domestic violence. Arsenault says the government can’t ignore their experience and expertise, and they must take their advice and act now.
Alexandra Pierre, president of the Ligue des droits et libertés, concluded by saying, “These forms of violence prevent women of their rights to security, equality and the right to life itself.”
Photograph by Hannah Tiongson