OTTAWA – The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Leader of the Official Opposition, Interim Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and Critic for Status of Women, issued the following statement today: “On November 25th 1960, the lives of three young sisters, Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa Mirabal, were tragically taken because they were political activists. They were brutally murdered for trying to stand up for what they believed in. “In 1999, the United Nations designated November 25th as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This day is intended to raise awareness of the fact that women around the world are subject to rape, domestic violence and other forms of violence. “Every day, every hour, every minute, women and children across Canada and around the world are affected by violence. The consequences are tragic and the effects can last a lifetime. “Just this month, we saw the bravery of Maria Fitzpatrick, a Member of the Legislative Assembly in Alberta, who shared her story of living through years of violence and abuse. Unfortunately, Ms. Fitzpatrick’s story is far too common, but it is a story that is often not told. We know there are women and children around the world suffering in silence. “I urge all orders of government to play a role in not only raising awareness of this issue, but investing in community-based programs, shelters and more programs to help women looking to flee domestic violence. “I also urge individual Canadians, especially men, to get involved and ‘don’t be a bystander’. Speak up and speak out! “Throughout my life, I have been a champion of women’s rights, working tirelessly to help end violence against women and girls. I began working in my community with shelters and crisis centres. When I entered federal politics, I made it my personal goal to raise this issue not just nationally, but internationally. I am proud to have led a successful UN resolution to create the International Day of the Girl to help raise awareness of the discrimination faced by girls globally. I am equally proud to have spearheaded the passage of a law to give aboriginal women equal property rights. As health minister, my commitment led to the creation of a dedicated, ten year, $100 million fund for community-based organizations to help end family violence and child abuse. “After more than two decades of working to end violence against women, I have learned that while progress has been made, we have a long way to go.”