Author: Hillary Aitken
Hillary Aitken is a sister, daughter, mother, partner, and activist. She grew up on the family farm in Saskatchewan where she learned the value of collective action, hard work, and the importance of creating a better world for the next generation. She moved to Yukon Territory in 2010 to work for the Carcross/Tagish First Nation, one of 11 self-governing First Nations in Yukon. After an enriching experience that helped shape the lens of decolonization and resilience that she always brings to her work, Hillary accepted a position at Victoria Faulkner Women's Centre as the Program Coordinator, where she has been working since 2012. Victoria Faulkner Women's Centre is a safe and respectful drop-in space where women can connect with one another, access support and services, and work together to create positive change for women and the community. VFWC partners with other community organizations to provide public education and awareness campaigns to end violence against women. Find out more on their Facebook page.
After many years of organizing sexualized violence prevention in Yukon, sometimes we learn that we need to try something new.
Every year, we talk about the statistics (rates of sexualized violence are nearly 4 times greater in Yukon than the provincial average), we talk about the offenders (more than 85% of offenders of sexualized violence are male), we talk about the unique Yukon realities (women are often sexually assaulted when they are sleeping or passed out), and we talk about how the community needs to step up to end this injustice. Still. Argh.
Right in the midst of planning this year’s Sexualized Assault Prevention Month campaign in Whitehorse, the verdict in the Cindy Gladue case came out from Alberta. We all know the details by now: a 36 year old mother of two bled to death in an Edmonton hotel room and the jury acquitted her murderer, agreeing with his explanation that they had engaged in consensual rough sex.
There are many conversations, actions, and public demonstrations that blossomed out of this unjust decision.