YWCA Toronto Statement on the Tragedy in Toronto

The following statement was issued by YWCA Toronto CEO Heather McGregor:

April 25, 2018 -- YWCA Toronto is mourning in the wake of the tragedy that has left so many immobilized by the magnitude of the violence expressed on the streets of our city this past Monday. Our hearts and our thoughts are with the families who will carry the weight of this violence not only for themselves but also for all of us. We have all been marked by this tragedy and as we come together to make sense of this horrific act of violence, we do so in memory and honour of those who have been most intimately affected.

YWCA Toronto has been a vocal force in advocating for a gender analysis on matters of violence, discrimination and abuse. To be clear, we have joined and built coalitions aimed at eradicating gender based violence for more than a century. The acts of violence manifested on Monday are firmly anchored in an expression of gender violence  not just because we know the victims were primarily women – not just because the perpetrator is male – not just because he was engaged in online behavior aimed at blaming women – not just because the act of violence was desperately aggressive – and not just because the incident leaves us wanting to distance ourselves from such hostility – but because of the combination and complexities of all of these realities.

We must examine the full body of knowledge we have available to us. The danger in focusing simply on one is to abdicate our responsibility for a comprehensive analysis – one that will lead to lasting change. We must examine the relationship between gender, misogyny and violence. Failure to do so will lead us to focus on singular factors such as mental health or extremist behavior – such myopic focus will not amount to systemic change.

We come together as a community standing witness to an act of violence – our actions over the next months must include standing in solidarity against the gendered nature of this violence and the social systems that fuel it.