12 Days to End Violence Against Women campaign kicks off in Yukon

Yukon community groups are urging people to take a stand against violence. The '12 Days to End Violence Against Women' campaign kicked off in Whitehorse on Wednesday.

'The conversation is shifting,' said local campaign organizer Hilary Aitken

The campaign was kicked off in Whitehorse on Wednesday, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. (Karen McColl/CBC)

Yukoners are being urged to support women and take a stand against violence, as a two week campaign begins in Whitehorse.

"12 Days to End Violence Against Women" is organized annually by several community groups, as a lead up to Dec. 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women and the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.

"We're working at shifting cultural norms here," said Hilary Aitken of the Victoria Faulkner Women's Centre. "We're trying to encourage people to act differently, use different words, and have different expectations. So it's a big ship to turn."
'It's definitely still a problem and statistics show us that,' said Hilary Aitken of the Victoria Faulkner Women's Centre. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)

Aitken said rates of violence against women in Yukon are three times the national average. But she believes "the conversation is shifting."

"I think we're looking at generational change, not change that will happen overnight," Aitken said. 

Mark Rutledge of the Moose Hide campaign agrees. 

"It is sad to hear that a lot of aboriginal men are actually perpetrators of violence against women, but there are a whole group of us that are opposed to it as well. And we are speaking up," he said.

The 12 Days campaign will feature a number of events including a public talk by Monique Lépine, mother of Marc Lépine — the gunman responsible for the Montreal Massacre. She will speak at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre on Dec. 1.

"I think I'm certainly not alone in saying I'm looking forward to hearing what she has to say — how she responded to that event, and how she healed and her community healed as well," Aitken said.

The annual Take Back The Night march happens this Thursday. It begins at Yukon College at 5 p.m.


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