DTES women's groups call for action to end gender-based violence

Dec 3 2020, 5:26 pm

Downtown Eastside women’s advocacy groups are calling on municipal and provincial leaders to take action to help end violence against the neighbourhood’s women.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only made it harder for women to access much-needed services, say Atira Women’s Resource Society, WISH Drop-In Centre Society, and Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre.

“Gendered and sexualized violence continues to be normalized and accepted in our community by those in positions to make change,” the three organizations said in a Thursday news release.

Their plea comes a day after a video surfaced online showing a man appearing to sexually attack an unresponsive woman in broad daylight at the corner of Main and Hastings, according to a Vancouver Sun report.

According to the women’s organization, this is just the latest in a series of disturbing acts. Last week, a street-based sex worker called WISH after hearing a woman screaming in a car as other people walked by. Three months ago, a woman’s body was found outside the Downtown Eastside street market. In April, a dead baby was found inside a porta-potty after a woman gave birth in there with no one noticing.

“No one should ever have to fear for their safety while trying to work and survive or simply exist in the community yet women and gender diverse people in the DTES are being left to fend for themselves,” Mebrat Beyene, executive director of WISH, said.