By Nouman Khalil
MISSISSAUGA — “33 years ago #BeenRapedNeverReported because alone, no mom, or anyone for support & kept telling myself I brought it on myself.”
This tweet, just one of many from real victims, is featured at The Peel Committee Against Woman Abuse (PCAWA)‘s shoe exhibition to honour women who have lost their lives due to gender-based violence.
The In Her Honour Shoe Memorial debuted Tuesday morning at the Great Hall of Mississauga City Hall (300 City Centre Drive) in presence of a large number of community members, including social workers and victims of violence.
At the exhibition, more than 500 pairs of shoes of are displayed, with each pair representing a woman who died as a result of gender-based violence.
The exhibition is hosted in commemoration of December 6 – the National Day of Remembrance & Action on Violence Against Women.
“These (violence against women) incidents are still happening around the world including Canada and the GTA. This year alone, we had at least three murders in the Peel region,” said Jaya Mootoo-Szypulewski, co-coordinator of PCAWA. “Every six days, a woman experiences some type of violence in Peel region. This event is to raise awareness and to provide opportunity for women to get support in case of a violence.”
On the occasion, the agency honoured the lives of 14 women from Montreal whose lives were taken on Dec. 6, 1989 at the Ecole Polytechnique and all other women who have lost their lives due to gender-based violence.
Mootoo-Szypulewski said it’s not just domestic violence at the hands of partners, but PCAWA also deals with different forms of violence such as cases of sexual assaults and rapes.
She said PCAWA has done this kind of events in past but this is the first time it is being done on such a large scale. Members of the Mississauga Fire Department helped the group bring the shoes into City Hall.
This week-long event is the only exhibit of its kind in Ontario and runs until Friday (Dec. 5). On Saturday, the exhibition will be moved to the Living Arts Centre as part of PCAWA’s “In Her Honour: December 6th Vigil and Shoe Memorial”.
Every year, Dec. 6 is commemorated as an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in the society.
The event is coordinated by the PCAWA, in collaboration with its special events committee comprised of the Salvation Army Family Life Resource Centre, Peel HIV/AIDS Network, Oasis Centre Des Femmes, Newcomers Centre of Peel, The HEAL Network, Peel Children’s Aid Society, Chantel’s Place, Holy Name of Mary Secondary School, Abuse: Survivor Stories and many dedicated community members.
Visit www.pcawa.org or call 905-823-3441 for more information.
By Nouman Khalil