Hanging red dresses in public spaces to draw attention to the issue of Canada’s missing and murdered indigenous women began in 2010 as an installation project by Métis artist Jaime Black.
The ultimate act of violence
2018 was the first year that anyone collected information about the number of women and girls who were murdered in Canada. That year, 148 women and girls were murdered in total. Most were killed by an intimate partner or someone they knew.
The highest rate was in Nunavut; the lowest in Quebec. No women or girls were killed in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2018. Sadly, that’s an anomaly.
Indigenous women were drastically over-represented in these sad statistics. Although they are only about 5 per cent of the population, they made up 36 per cent of the women and girls killed. Women in rural and remote communities were also over-represented.
This figure does not include missing women who are suspected to be victims of murder.
SOURCE: Myrna Dawson, M., Sutton, D., Carrigan, M., Grand’Maison, V. #CallItFemicide: Understanding gender-related killings of women and girls in Canada 2018. Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability. www.femicideincanada.ca/callitfemicide.pdf
As of 2018, Newfoundland & Labrador had identified 138 missing and murdered women.
Many women are murdered by an intimate partner. This is most likely to happen once they indicate the relationship is finished, or after they’ve actually left.
Some groups of women are at higher risk of violence of all kinds.
The self-reported rate of sexual assault of indigenous women in Canada is more than triple that of non-indigenous women. The self-reported rate of spousal violence of indigenous women in Canada is also three times higher than non-indigenous women. Ninety-six per cent of indigenous females who self-reported physical violence also reported emotional or financial abuse. Twenty-two per cent of indigenous women self-reported experiencing post-separation intimate partner violence compared to seven per cent of non-indigenous women within five years after the separation.
SOURCE: Department of Justice. Research and Statistics Division. JustFacts: Victimization of indigenous women and girls. July 2017.