The Supreme Court of Canada has begun hearings on the charter challenge to Canada’s prostitution laws. The outcome of this court case will have a direct impact on the safety and equality of all women in Canada.
Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW) Rape Crisis Centre demands Canada do better for prostituted women. As a Rape Crisis Centre, with over 30 years of experience, we know that the prostitution industry is rooted in male entitlement to women’s bodies and violence against women, with the brunt of the violence directed at Indigenous women and marginalized people.
“Canada can do better than putting the onus on women to create their own safety and to survive male violence. It is crucial to understand the responsibility lies with men to exercise their agency and power to end violence against women and support women’s equality” states Stephanie Reifferschied, WAVAW Counsellor.
WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre supports the Nordic Model which decriminalizes women and criminalizes the purchasing of women for sex while implementing a social safety net that gives real options and empowers women.
“Decriminalization or legalization of the industry of prostitution will further entrench women’s inequality and allows the state to further abandon their responsibility to create socio-economic conditions that ensure equality. The Nordic model outlines the necessary legislation, services, and supports required to further substantive equality for women in Canada” states Irene Tsepnopoulos-Elhaimer, WAVAW’s Executive Director.
It is time that Canada expands the discussion and takes leadership from models that consider women as complete human beings who are entitled to equality and safety. “Prostitution is the oldest oppression and needs to be dismantled instead of being promoted as a viable option for women’s economic liberation” says Carissa Ropponen, Executive and Development Assistant.