Strong Message to End Violence Against Women, from Rima Aristocrat, Honorary Chair for IWSO Gala 2015,
- I would like thank The Chair Magdalene Cooman and members of the Board of Directors of IWSO;
- The Executive Director, Lucya Spencer; The Acting Executive Director, Mercy Lawluvi; staff of IWSO, funders, clients, supporters and YOU, all of YOU ‚Äì thank you!
- A staggering one in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime‚Äîa pandemic of global proportions.
- Unlike an illness; however, perpetrators and even entire societies choose to commit violence against women.
- ¬†They can make the choice to stop!
- ¬†Violence against women is not unavoidable ‚Äì it can be prevented.
- ¬†But it‚Äôs not as straightforward as eliminating a virus.
- There is no vaccine, or medication for a cure.
- ¬†And there is no one single reason for why it happens.
- ¬†As such, prevention strategies should be holistic, with multiple interventions undertaken in parallel, in order to have long-lasting and permanent effects.
- Many sectors, actors and stakeholders need to be engaged.
- More evidence is emerging on what interventions work to prevent violence ‚Äîfrom community mobilization to change social norms, to comprehensive school interventions targeting staff and pupils, to economic empowerment and income supplements coupled with gender equality training.
¬†(Rima and Lucya Spencer, Executive Director of IWSO)¬†Prevention is the 2015 theme of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and the UNiTE to End Violence against Women Campaign‚Äôs 16 days call for action! This year‚Äôs official commemoration at the UN Headquarters in New York, is where the first UN Framework on Preventing Violence against Women will be launched and discussed.
- The framework develops a common understanding for the UN System, policymakers and other stakeholders on preventing violence against women and provides a theory of change to underpin action.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†""16 days to ‚ÄúOrange the world‚Äù
- This year, from November 25th through December 10th, the UN Secretary-General‚Äôs¬†aim for UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign is to raise public awareness and mobilize people everywhere to bring about change.
¬†‚ÄúOrange the world,‚Äù invites you to organize events to decorate your streets, schools and landmarks in orange to symbolize a brighter future without violence.
- Tonight, I am proud to announce that all three Willis College campuses, Ottawa, Smiths Falls and Arnprior are coloured in Orange and will be until December 10th.
- We are organizing fundraising events for this worthy cause and 100% will be donated to IWSO.
¬†Immigrant Women Services Ottawa has made a huge difference in the lives of countless immigrant women!
¬†They have been removing barriers in the everyday lives of newcomers to Canada who are going through the settlement and integration process including survivors of violence -- women who want to take back control of their lives.
(Rima above with one of the staff from IWSO)
¬†Immigrant Women Services Ottawa is a community based agency serving immigrant and¬†visible¬†minority women. They create¬†opportunities¬†for women as they¬†integrate¬†into a new society, rebuild their lives free of violence and achieve their personal goals.¬†Every year, over 2000 women and children are helped by IWSO‚Äôs dedicated staff and volunteers.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† I would like to quote Isabell Allende here:Mags Magazine wrote an article about my grandmother. Imagine a 60 year old woman becoming a medical doctor back in the early 1900s. This was the my grandmother‚Äôs way to showing me that it‚Äôs never too late to achieve your dreams. In 1974, I immigrated to Toronto, Canada to start a new life. Blessed with¬† four beautiful daughters,¬†four ¬†granddaughters, one grandson, I, too, have worked hard, learned many things along life‚Äôs path, met many amazing women from around the world all which have shaped me, my mission in life. It was in Toronto where I established the Canadian Association of Immigrant Professionals organization. I have had opportunities to work with abused women and women on social assistance before arriving to Ottawa. In 1998, I became the first immigrant woman to lead Willis College. As the President and CEO of this 120 years old establishment, I have developed many best practices models in skills training,opened Willis College campuses in Smith Falls and Anrpior, established sister-city partnerships, founded TeKnoWave Inc., created Canada‚Äôs first national Aboriginal IT training organization and Women in IT initiative. However, I‚Äôm most proud of the last 8 years I‚Äôve been working with a very special program called Courage to Soar in partnership with Minwaashin Lodge that unites abused and homeless First Nation‚Äôs women. As of today, over 120 of these women have gone through skills training at Willis College Ottawa campus with tremendous success. A couple of these graduates has even become Canadian Ambassadors to Africa. But I would not be where I am today without the unconditional love and support of my family and friends. Tonight, I am surrounded by my¬†four daughters and daughter-in-law, Lali, Medea, Rima J. Michelle and Selina‚Äì Medea and Michelle arrived specially from Toronto. I am accompanied by both colleagues and friends who have been promoting this event and who have been with me every step of my journey and who have made a huge impact in my life ‚Äì thank you. I am reminded of a quote by Cody Kennedy in Slaying Isidore's Dragons, ¬†¬†‚ÄúDon't try to be brave all at once. Take ‚Äì it- in - steps.‚Äù So, I offer a final ‚Äòthank you‚Äô to all of you here tonight for supporting IWSO and all immigrant women and children.¬†¬†¬†¬† Your generosity and kindness will go a long way in simply looking out for women.¬† God bless you all!""¬† Rima Aristocrat. I hope that you enjoyed this!¬† Continue to support great initiatives, work towards elimination of violence against women... live your future now by taking small actions to create positive changes in the world. Join Mags Magazine and Gems of Saint Lucia in its next great event which brings travel, music, writing and inspiration all together! Love, Magdalene"