Stop the violence blog - Rachel Singleton-Polster

Rachel Singleton-Polster, Girl Guides of Canada, writes about why she is empowering other Girl Guides to take action.

CSW 2011 delegate- Rachel Singleton-PolsterMy name is Rachel Singleton-Polster, I am a 20-year-old university student and have been a member of Girl Guides of Canada for over 15 years. I live in a small community on the west coast of Canada where violence against girls and young women is sadly still prevalent. Many might assume that in an affluent country such as Canada we would have overcome the tragedy of violence against girls and young women. However when an 18-year-old girl from my home community was the fatal victim of violence this year it was keenly demonstrated that this is not true. In fact, half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16. In Canada, Aboriginal girls and women are especially vulnerable to violence and there are over 583 cases of missing or murdered Aboriginal women and girls.

I will be supporting the WAGGGS Stop the violence campaign because I believe that as a global movement Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting cannot be silenced on this issue. Speaking out and raising awareness about violence against girls and young women is a powerful tool to stop the violence. Through this campaign girls and young women will learn that they have a right to live free of violence, and will stand up and speak out to end violence.

From a young age I have been exposed to advocacy and grassroots efforts to end gender-based violence as my mother actively supports my community’s shelter for battered women and their children. My Guide Unit made personal hygiene kits for the shelter, and more recently I shared my own passion for feminist activism with a group of young Guides, getting them engaged on the topic of violence against girls and young women. I have also been active at my university, writing research papers and organizing campus events to raise awareness about violence against women. It is my hope that, through this campaign and through our own individual actions, we can put an end to the senseless and horrific violence that girls and young women around the world experience.