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National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

On December 6th, 1989, a young man walked into École Polytechnique and shot and murdered 14 women and injured 13 others. He then proceeded to end his own life, as well. He claimed that his attacks were an attempt to fight feminism which he thought was ruining his life. 


The women who lost their lives were murdered just for being women.


We mourn and honour the women who were killed:

  • Geneviève Bergeron

  • Hélène Colgan 

  • Nathalie Croteau

  • Barbara Daigneault

  • Anne-Marie Edward

  • Maud Haviernick

  • Maryse Laganière

  • Maryse Leclair

  • Anne-Marie Lemay

  • Sonia Pelletier

  • Michèle Richard

  • Annie St-Arneault

  • Annie Turcotte

  • Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz


Unfortunately, the actions of the perpetrator of this violence were not isolated or unique. Instead, they reflect a larger problem with gender-based violence in our society. It can take multiple forms, from emotional and verbal abuse to sexual and physical violence. People of gender minorities who also have other marginalized identities are at even greater risk of experiencing gender-based violence. In 2022, at least 184 women and girls were violently killed in Canada (“Gender Based Violence,” 2023). 


What can we do to help reduce gender-based violence?


We should all work on being critical and unlearning the conscious and unconscious biases we may have about women and gender minorities. What messages do we see in the media about women and violence? How do we treat the women and gender minorities that we work, talk, and live with? We must know the power that we have as individuals to change culture. 


If you can, support your local sexual assault center or your local women’s shelter. This can be in the form of donating your money or your time so that they can continue to provide valuable service and care to the community.


If you know somebody who is experiencing or has experienced gender-based violence, make sure that you are compassionate and supportive. It is difficult and traumatic to experience, and they should know that they have somebody who loves and cares for them. People’s experiences with gender-based violence can vary a lot, and survivors are valid in any way they choose to pursue their healing journey. Be mindful not to validate their feelings of guilt, as what they experienced was not their fault. Listen deeply and provide the care that they ask for, whether that be looking for resources or just being somebody they can vent to. If you or somebody you know is in immediate danger, please call 911.


Women and gender minorities deserve to live safely, and we can all do our part in making our world safer for ourselves and each other.


Reference:

Gender Based Violence in Canada: Learn the facts. Canadian Women’s Foundation. (2023, November 14). https://canadianwomen.org/the-facts/gender-based-violence/#:~:text=In%202020%2C%20160%20women%20and,killed%20by%20violence%20in%202019


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