OTTAWA–April 1, 2014 – The honourable Dr. Asha Seth hosted a reception on Parliament Hill on behalf of the Elspeth-Hayworth Center for Women (EHCW) to condemn gender-based violence in Canada and around the world. The event commemorated the work of the Elspeth-Hayworth Center in providing vital support to vulnerable immigrant women in the greater Toronto area. The night also highlighted the book “Violence Against Women- All Pervading;” a partnership project with the Toronto Police Service edited by accomplished author Ajit Jain.

The Elspeth-Hayworth Centre for Women does extraordinary work towards empowering immigrant women, seniors and families to understand and enjoy all the rights and benefits of living in Canada. They work hard to reduce isolation and poverty among immigrant women and promote programs that assist them with integrating into Canadian society.

Guests were treated to presentations on the origins, consequences, and solutions to violence against women from co-host the honorable Deepak Obhrai; the honourable Dr. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister responsible for the Status of Women; Mrs. Sunder Singh, executive director of the Elspeth-Hayworth Center; Mr. Ajit Jain, journalist and author; MP Judy Sgro (York West); and the presence of Mr. Tsewang Namgyal Deputy High Commissioner of India.

Senator Seth spoke with passion as she encouraged the crowd to raise their voices and speak out against gender-based violence and domestic abuse by identifying and ending cultural norms that emphasize male superiority over women.

“When these attitudes become so pervasive that women no longer have a voice within their society, that’s when we see cases of unchecked violence like that of Jyoti Singh, the young medical student from India who was viciously raped in 2012 and later died due to her injuries […] To the Vulnerable women in Canada and around the world I say that the Parliament of Canada stands behind you and we join you in the struggle to put an end to violence against women,” expressed Senator Seth.

Ajit Jain’s “Violence Against Women- All Pervading” was published by the EHCW and has received a great deal of attention in Canada and abroad as it is a collaboration of many voices. It features contributions from MP Judy Sgro, Mr. Alok Mukherjee, Dr. Jean Augustine, Dr. Mohit Bhandari, among other experts.

“Our Government believes strongly in doing our part to end violence against women and girls everywhere,” said Minister Leitch. “Raising awareness is the first step in mobilizing the support needed to make meaningful strides. That’s why efforts like those of the Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women, in writing this book are so important.”

Author Ajit Jain shared the lessons learned in gathering the stories for his book, “Violence against women is not India-specific, it is a global issue. One recent UN study shows that one out of every three women would at least once or twice be assaulted or raped in her life time and that means we are talking of close to a billion women who are in danger or being raped. Let no one – be he your father, your brother, your spouse or a boyfriend ever tough you physically as none has the right. If you let someone hit you once and you don’t stop it, it will happen over and over again. So, please take control.”

Sunder Singh, EHCW Executive Director, shed light on the Canadian situation from her perspective, “During the last 2 years, around 600 women have visited Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women. Many of these women, had they attended these workshops at their initial stage of arrival, along with their partners, could have avoided facing prolonged abuses in their homes. These women, many who have lived in Canada for 5 to 10 years are not even aware that they could call the police for help and get initial support.”

“I would like all of you to take the time to remember how violence against women pervades through all aspects of our society […] I hope this publication will inspire you to raise your voice on behalf of these vulnerable women and continue to support the people and institutions that work every day to end the brutality,” said Senator Seth in her closing remarks.

The event was successful in creating awareness of violence against women in Canada and abroad.

To read more about the Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women and their latest publication “Violence Against Women- All Pervading,” please visit their website at:




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The Office of the honourable Asha Seth