Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Markets | By Rosalie Gross

Vigils, light ceremony, mark anniversary of Ecole Polytechnique massacre

Vigils, light ceremony, mark anniversary of Ecole Polytechnique massacre

On that day 28 years ago, a man methodically killed more than a dozen women simply because they were women. Fourteen young women, almost all of them in their early twenties, shot dead by a gunman who blamed successful women for his own unhappy life.

The murder of 14 women at l'ƒcole Polytechnique de Montreal in 1989 sparked nationwide conversations on the issue of violence against women and has now been named the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

"To see 14 women being killed for studying a profession that I held so dear, that was a huge wakeup call for me", says Cannon, who in 1989 was pursuing a PhD in engineering at the U of C. It galvanized her, she says, to dedicate her efforts to ensuring other female engineering students "did not feel fear and they did not feel barriers". "On December 6, we take time to remember and to re-commit to the work that needs to be done to end violence against women".

"It actually seems to me the start of a culture change, that women aren't going to be as afraid to come forward".

This year will also mark the 10th year Kamloops has remembered missing and murdered women through the Shoe Memorial.

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MHWSS executive director Natasha Carvalho said the event not only commemorates those who lost their lives due to gender-based violence, but it served as an opportunity to discuss violence that women continue to face. A victim, her mother says, of someone with a violent past who targeted women.

To those who are still vulnerable, such as members of the LGBTQ2 community, Indigenous women, newcomers and disabled women, we will not tolerate discrimination and violence. Nirmala Armstrong, herself once a victim of domestic violence, said.

The 14 women slain in this horrific act of misogyny and gender-based violence were 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 and Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz.

"This event is named a ritual and a ritual by its very design honours grief, sadness, and anger and then moves through that to transform it into hope for action", said Young-Milani.

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