Battery operated tealights lit the faces of women and men bundled up against the November evening as they gathered in Fort Langley Saturday at the annual candlelight vigil about violence against women.
Nov. 25 is the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and the Soroptimists of the Langleys and Ishtar Transition Housing Society organized the vigil, this year held in Fort Langley.
“Discrimination against women comes in so many ways, that all have been wrong, even discrimination before they are born,” Langley MP Mark Warawa commented.
It’s so important that we understand about the fact that it’s just unacceptable on any level to have violence against anybody but particularly violence against women,” said Langley East MLA Rich Coleman.
Coleman’s son was with the Canadian military and fought in Afghanistan. He told Coleman that he felt the biggest impact Canada had being in that conflict was changing the lives of girls and women.
“There’s about 600,000 girls going to school in Afghanistan today and he said they will be educated and they will not be fooled again and he thought was probably the biggest contribution our Canadian forces made over there,” Coleman said.
Langley City Councillor Gayle Martin said women have made progress over the years, but with some of the atrocities going on around the world, she said there is still more change that need to happen.
“How many people globally and even in my own circle of friends might be experiencing some form of abuse simply for being a woman?” Martin wondered aloud.
Township Mayor Jack Froese said violence against women crosses all economic borders and all cultures.
“As men here today, we have a role to play and be mentors to boys,” Froese said.
The call is coming from the highest levels in the nation. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau advocated for the #MyActionsMatter campaign to encourage everyone to take responsibility for ending violence against women.
“Violence against women is a violation of human rights – and an issue that affects all of us. We are all harmed when people in our communities and society experience violence – and all of us share a responsibility to make sure women and girls have the respect, protection, and freedom that is their right,” the prime minister said. “Men must hold themselves and each other accountable and be part of the solution. From speaking up about the rights of women and girls, to promoting women’s leadership in every aspect of our society, to standing against violence whenever it occurs, men have a vital role to play in eliminating gender-based violence.”