Gender Based Violence

8 Dec, 2020

I am so excited to present our first guest blogger Sydney Piggott. When I think about what is “Collaborative Community Solutions” for me, providing space for a variety of perspectives and voices is at the core.   My hope is that this blog becomes one of those spaces.  Please read along, like, share and follow on social media! Sydney’s social media is linked below!  I have had the complete honor of getting to work with Sydney on a variety of projects and connect with her on different levels.  Sydney’s bio is below, on a personal level Sydney embodies, kindness, activism,  and empowerment. I am so grateful to have known Sydney over the years and am so looking forward to all that she does globally to address issues of Gender-based violence bringing her passion for highlighting intersectionality in the  movement.

Sydney Piggott (she/her) is a civil society leader, researcher, and advocate for gender equity on a global scale. She is the Director of Programs & Projects at YWCA Canada where she leads impact-driven initiatives with a vision to see women and girls empowered in a safe and equitable society. Sydney brings an intersectional feminist lens to all of her work informed by her proud Afro-Caribbean heritage.

Every year on November 25th, the world recognizes a pandemic that existed long before the coronavirus: gender-based violence. The 16 Days of Activism started in 1991 at the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute led by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership. Starting on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and ending on International Human Rights Day, this annual campaign reminds us of the urgent need to end gender-based violence (GBV) in all its forms.
This past weekend on December 6th, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, I was reminded of the theme of the 16 Days campaign: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect. How well have we responded to GBV in what’s known as Canada? How are we preventing GBV nationally and locally? Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go. The Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice & Accountability estimates that nearly 150 women and girls have been killed this year due to GBV, 25% of whom were Indigenous. There are over ​​450,000 instances of sexual assault every year and rates of GBV have largely remained the same since 2004, while other types of crime have decreased. Globally, 350 transgender and gender-diverse people have been killed in 2020. A staggering 98% were trans women or trans feminine people and nearly 80% were racialized. Those of us who work in this sector know that the reported numbers are only the tip of the iceberg.
Between the COVID-19 pandemic, the Shadow Pandemic of gender-based and intimate partner violence, and the constant imagery of Black and Indigenous people facing state violence on our social media feeds, it’s hard to see a silver lining. Sometimes it feels like I’m running in place and it’s exhausting. But through it all, I am reminded that at the core of the 16 Days campaign is to act. So whether it’s getting familiar with the call for a ​National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence or the Calls for Justice from the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People, donating to a local GBV shelter, or showing your solidarity with survivors, take action in any way that you can.