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A number of people gathered in the rotunda of the Manitoba Legislature Thursday night to commemorate National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

December 6, 2018 marked 29 years since 14 young women were killed at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, simply because they were women.

Sustainable Development Minister and Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, Rochelle Squires, spoke at the event. She says Manitoba has some of the worst rates of gender based violence in Canada.

"We are also honouring 12 women that we either lost to violence over the past year in Manitoba or were confirmed as victims of homicide over this past year. Today and everyday we must remember the women and girls who face violence as a daily reality," said Squires.

Natalie Pirson, a consultant with the Independent Living Resource Centre also spoke at the ceremony.rsz dsc04736

She says it is past due for women with disabilities to be included in the conversations regarding gender based violence.

"Women with a disability are twice as likely as women who don't have disabilities, to be violated," explained Pirson.

Emily Cablek is victim of domestic violence. She spent seven years with her ex husband who physically, sexually and mentally abused her. He eventually abducted her children, who were found four years after they were taken and returned to Cablek.

She has now written a book to share her experience and last night she spoke at the event via a video.

"Being able to hold my head high is not easy sometimes. Looking in the mirror and liking who I am is not easy. My psychologist has recently said to me, you need to stop healing and to start living," said Cablek.

In honour of victims of gender based violence, the provincial government is creating a cabinet committee to find solutions.

Rochelle Squires will chair the committee and announced the appointments of: Education and Training Minister Kelvin Goertzen; Families Minister Heather Stefanson; Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen; Indigenous and Northern Relations Minister Eileen Clarke; Justice Minister Cliff Cullen; and Janice Morley-Lecomte, legislative assistant to the minister of families.

The committee will help to better collaborate across departments and meet the needs of Manitobans in critical situations.

The cabinet committee held its inaugural meeting on Thursday and will meet a minimum of three times per year.

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