March held in Montreal calling for an end to violence against women

Click to play video: 'March held in Montreal calling for the end to violence against women' March held in Montreal calling for the end to violence against women
WATCH: There have been more than a dozen cases of femicide in Quebec to date this year. Often, violence against women is a taboo subject, but on Thursday, a group of women took to the street to shed light on the issue and make sure it is not something that is kept hidden behind closed doors. Global's Phil Carpenter has the details. – Nov 25, 2021

Thursday, Nov. 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

To mark the occasion, and to draw attention to what they say is a growing concern, a group of women gathered outside the Henri Bourassa metro station in Montreal’s Ahuntsic district.

They wanted to get people to speak up.

Read more: Quebec records 10th femicide of the year amid domestic violence crisis

“To talk about the issues that are not talked about,” said Sara Eldabaa, one of the demonstrators.  “Issues that are pushed under the rug because they are seen as taboo.”

She and the others said the problem is getting worse, not better, despite millions of dollars promised for resources.

Story continues below advertisement

“All the women’s shelters are telling it,” said Mélanie Ederer, Quebec Women’s Federation president.  “Women are even more stuck at home with less access to information, to people, to resources.”

This year has been particularly alarming, she said.

At least 17 women in the province have been murdered in intimate partner violence.

Montreal police are refusing to confirm that the case of a woman whose body was found with a man in an apartment on Fairmont Avenue in early November was a femicide. That would push the femicide count to 18.

Still, protesters point to the pandemic as one reason for the increase in domestic aggression towards women this year, saying people are stressed.

“When people are stressed it’s easy to blame women and to attack women when people are already mad,” Ederer said.

Political leaders echo that sentiment.

Read more: St-Donat man charged with 2nd-degree murder in Quebec’s 15th femicide

In a statement, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said “since the outbreak of covid-19, there have been escalated rates of gender-based violence around the world. The social and economic impact of the public health emergency has resulted in a shadow pandemic.”

Story continues below advertisement

The women who gathered outside Henri Bourassa noted that some women are more at risk.

“Racialized people, marginalized people, people living in the periphery of the centre of the city are more vulnerable,” Fatima Terhini, a protester, told Global News.

The first step to fighting the problem, said Eldabaa, is to acknowledge it more forcefully.

“It’s also taboo because it’s very personal to talk about your partner either hitting you physically or refusing to give you money or psychologically manipulating you,” she told Global News.

The group plans to push the conversation for 12 days until the anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre, Dec. 6.

Sponsored content