The province didn't release an annual list of names of Manitoba women and girls killed on Dec. 6 — the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women — for the first time in recent memory, said Jane Ursel, a Winnipeg-based researcher and member of the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability.
Status of Women Minister Cathy Cox said last week the decision was made in consideration of family members' privacy.
"We recognize that publicizing the names of victims could trigger painful memories for families and loved ones. Out of respect for families, we are exercising caution when using victims’ names at events," Cox said in an emailed statement Tuesday.
"Even with the best intentions for honouring those who have tragically died of violent acts, a trauma-informed and victim-centred approach suggests that we consider how families are informed of the use of their loved one’s information and allow them to decide if they wish to be involved in the process."
The province said it's following a similar approach to what's being done by other governments at Dec. 6 ceremonies.
Ursel is among the voices calling on it to reconsider.
"I think it’s a part of the overall concern that is expressed in the femicide observatory that I think Canadians are unaware of how many women are violently murdered. And you do get statistics form Stats Canada at the end of the year, but it’s different to acknowledge a person lost than to simply count statistics," she said.
"It is the belief of the observatory, as well as many other organizations, that these women need to be recognized — and they need to be honoured. And, of course, if you have no names, that’s very difficult to do."
Hilda Anderson-Pyrz, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls liaison unit manager for Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, also said it's vital to know the names of those who were killed.
"We need to honour them and remember them and not let them be anonymous. We need to honour their families and support their families as well," she said.
Here are some of the names of women and girls killed in Manitoba in 2019, collected by the CFOJA:
1. Name not released, 25, Opaskwayak Cree Nation (Jan. 4)
2. Eunjee Kim, 41, Winnipeg (Jan. 9)
3. Lise Suzanne Marie Danais, 51, Winnipeg (March 26)
4. ShayInne Marie Hunter, 25, Winnipeg (May 25)
5. Name not released, 93, Cross Lake (Aug. 9)
6. Norma (Bambi) Helen Andrews, 28, Winnipeg (Sept. 21)
7. Bobbie-Lynn Lee Moose, 29, Thompson (Oct. 17)
8. Karen Jane Letniak, 48, Winnipeg (Oct. 18)
9. Betty Anne Hughes, 63, Brandon (Oct. 22)
10. Jakira Mary Iris Eastman-Moore, 14, Winnipeg (Oct. 26)
— Jessica Botelho-Urbanski