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Senator delivers powerful Women’s Day message in New Glasgow

Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard was the guest speaker at an International Women’s Day event in New Glasgow Thursday.
Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard was the guest speaker at an International Women’s Day event in New Glasgow Thursday. - Fram Dinshaw

A federal senator delivered a powerful message of work yet to be done in tackling violence against females on International Women’s Day in New Glasgow.

Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard reminded her audience at Summer Street Industries that “we are tired of being afterthoughts,” when speaking of the devastating impact of violence on women from disabled, transgender, minority and other marginalized groups.

“Senators are supposed to be speaking for the rights of the disenfranchised,” said Thomas Bernard, who hails from East Preston.

She gave the example of a blind woman who was ignored by her own bank in favour of caregivers forging her signature to withdraw money from her account.

While many people think of violence as merely physical assault, it often includes financial, mental, emotional, verbal and spiritual abuse that is much harder to spot.

“Much of it is invisible to us. It’s hidden,” said Thomas Bernard.

For Thomas Bernard, this represented the ‘intersectionality of violence,’ meaning that women from marginalized groups can suffer both because of their gender and other identities.

A diverse feminist movement, which contains women from all backgrounds and walks of life, is key to fighting a culture of discrimination and violence.

But the feminist movement has not always been welcoming to women of colour or transgender women.

As recently as January, women from sexual and ethnic minority groups staged a protest separately from the main Women’s March in Halifax.

The ‘Walking the Talk’ rally was sparked by racist and transphobic replies to a since-deleted Facebook post on the Halifax Women’s March page.

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