December 16, 2022 – As the year wraps, we wish everyone a safe holiday season and thank you for supporting our work throughout the year.
Before we close our doors for a much-needed and well-deserved break, I want to leave you with my final thoughts on the year nearly past and my wish for the future.
As the executive director of an intersectional, feminist-led, anti-oppressive, anti-racist organization, we strive to solve a tricky riddle, knowing only the answer, GBV (gender-based violence). It is prudent to reflect on the impact of our collective efforts to address gender-based violence. It is equally important to pause and take stock of what is happening around us to remind ourselves of the international implications of gender inequality.
According to Reuters, an estimated 90,000 protestors have raised their voices in response to the government of Iran’s morality police, who allegedly beat Mahsa Amini for improperly wearing her headscarf. Mahsa later died on September 16, while in police custody. Since Mahsa’s death, more than 400 people have been sentenced to jail, more than 550 people, including children, have died, and more than 1,600 people have been injured while protesting the injustice of her treatment.
We are all connected and are protesting the same thing, regardless of the country of the current action. Iran is protesting the decades of oppression and misogyny inflicted in the name of religion. In the United States, the overturning of Roe vs. Wade and the sacrifice of women’s access to safe, medical abortions reminded the world of its racist, oppressive, and misogynist practices in the name of religion and colonialism. Canada isn’t excused either; missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls summarize our nation’s colonial values soaked in racism, oppression, and misogyny.
The Clinic achieved several wins this past year regarding gender-based violence. We developed our Trauma-Informed Evaluation, Learning & Leadership (TELL) Framework to help guide the policies, tools, and practices used to understand program and service impacts and to enhance the capacity to learn and grow in response to the evolving needs of the people and communities served. This framework is available for free on our website. The federal government announced their intent to launch its National Action Plan on Violence Against Women and Gender-Based Violence, for which the Clinic served as co-chair of the Women’s Shelters Canada-led working group on legal and justice systems. The Clinic, in alliance with the other organizations contributing to the report, responded with constructive feedback in a joint statement, later outlining priority actions critical to the Plan’s capacity to effect real systemic change.
My wish for this coming year, and every year until it comes true, is to all look inwards to our behaviour and practices, including those of our youth, and to ask ourselves how we can do better – be less racist, be less oppressive, be more inclusive. Do this, and collectively we are taking an enormous step toward preventing gender-based violence here and around the world.
In parting, from all of us at The Clinic to all of you, I wish you well this holiday season and look forward to connecting with you in the New Year.
Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic
P.S. Please consider making a year-end donation and supporting the Clinic’s services free to racialized and marginalized women and gender-diverse survivors of violence.