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RESPECT In honour of the great Aretha Franklin who died today
August 16, 2018

Women 'strike, dance, rise' against violence
Gatherings commemorate victims of gender-based abuse worldwide
By Jessica Barrett, Vancouver Sun, February 15, 2013

Chris McDowell took to the podium in the drizzle Thursday to lead a modest gathering at Vancouver's Thornton Park in a dance.

"This is the Aretha Franklin moment," she said. "R-E-S-P-E-C-T, that's what we want."

The Motown classic came over the PA system as McDowell instructed the group of about 45 - mostly women bundled up in rain gear - to shimmy and shake.

It was an attempt to inject levity into a dark subject - acknowledging the one billion women, or one in three, who will be the victims of gender-based violence in their lifetime. Part of 1 Billion Rising - an international movement created by Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler - Thursday's event coincided with dozens of simultaneous rallies held in cities across the globe united under the slogan "strike, dance, rise."

The issue of violence against women, often perpetrated by romantic partners, took on added urgency as news spread of the murder charge laid against South African runner Oscar Pistorius. The famed Olympian and Paralym-pian allegedly shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in their Pretoria home early Thursday, Valentine's Day.

Many speakers at the event also referenced the brutal rape and murder of a young woman in India in December, calling for an international stand to end violence against women.

But the issue is by no means limited to far off locations, said event organizer McDowell.

A member of Remembering Our Sisters Everywhere, an activist group that commemorates female victims of violence, McDowell also helped co-ordinate Thornton Park's memorial dedicated to the 14 victims of one of Canada's most notorious acts of gender-based violence: the 1989 Montreal Massacre.

"The massacre in Montreal (motivated) all kinds of activism," said McDowell, noting victims of gender-based violence are often forgotten, while perpetrators - like serial killer Robert Pickton - tend to linger in the public memory. That tendency contributes to a muted discussion of the impact of gender-based violence in Canada, she said.

"Denial sets in when a woman's murdered."...

(Photo by Heidi Greco)

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(Photo by Reuters, "ISIS kill us because of our religion")

Friends of ROSE,

For over a year, 
’ve been 
member of The BC Working Group for Yazidi Women and Girls. United by a common concern for fair and equal treatment for women and girls around the world we have been urging the Canadian government to bring Yazidi survivors of enslavement and rape to Canada, and to provide them with safe housing and a program of trauma recovery.
Please have a look at our website and take a moment to sign the petition to demand the Canadian government keep its promise and provide expert-guided trauma recovery care for female Yazidi refugees to Canada.

Will you join us to demand the Canadian government keep its promise?

As part of a genocidal campaign against the Yazidi religious minority in Northern Iraq, ISIS fighters captured an estimated 6,800 Yazidi women and young girls to systematically enslave, serial and gang rape and, in many cases, murder. 

In response to these atrocities, our Minister of Immigration and Refugees, Ahmed Hussen, promised to bring Yazidi survivors to Canada and provide them with trauma recovery care. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that the Yazidi would receive “the support they need” in Canada. 

But recent investigative reports, including one in The New York Times, tell a different story. Testimony from refugees and community and health service workers in Canadian cities, describes how the Yazidi women are suffering severe post-traumatic stress symptoms, including daily re-living of rape trauma, without any therapeutic program of support. 

It doesn’t have to be like this. A parliamentary committee met with world-renowned psychologist, Dr. Jan Kizilhan, to learn about a specialized trauma recovery program he created for 1,100 Yazidi women and children refugees in Germany that is proving to be effective. 

Will you share this petition so brutality does not triumph and its victims are not abandoned?
Thank you for your consideration. We hope you will stand with us on this important issue. 

Christine McDowell

for the Women Refugees Advocacy Project
formerly BC Working Group for Yazidi Women and Girls


“UN human rights panel concludes ISIL is committing genocide against Yazidis,” June 16, 2016 
Backgrounder, Helping vulnerable Yazidi women and children and other survivors of Daesh    
From: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, 2017-02-21

“Canada will take in 1,200 primarily Yazidi refugees,” Terry Pedwell,, Feb 21, 2017: “As many [Yazidi] have experienced unimaginable trauma, both physical and emotional, many will have unique psychological and social needs such as trauma counselling,” Minister of Immigration and Refugees, Hussen said. 

“We’re taking steps to make sure Yazidi & other survivors of Daesh have the support they need when they get here.” #WelcomeToCanada   Justin Trudeau [Twitter]   4:11 PM - 21 Feb 2017 

Canada Struggles as It Opens Its Arms to Victims of ISIS, by Catherine Porter, March 16, 2018, The New York Times

‘Please Take Us Back to Iraq’: A Yazidi Family’s Traumatic First Days In Canada, by Naomi Buck   Dec 8, 2017, Chatelaine

“A Yazidi family’s traumatic first days in Canada: A refugee family from Iraq says they couldn’t have coped with the shock of their new lives without the support of a dedicated group of volunteers—raising questions about Canada’s ability to help”, by Naomi Buck, Dec 16, 2017, 

Presentation by Dr. Jan Kizilhan, Head, Department of Mental Health and Addiction, Cooperative State University and Dean of the Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychotraumatology, University of Dohuk, as an individual, to the Citizenship and Immigration Committee [parliament of Canada],  November 17, 2016  

Treating Yazidi rape survivors: A psychologist has brought more than 1,000 victims of Islamic State sexual violence to Europe to get medical and psychological treatment, by Rebecca A. Clay, September 2016, Vol 47, No. 8


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