Today on Adamant Eve’s live show, we were reflecting on violence against women 20 years after the horrible event that has come to be known as the École Polytechnique massacre, or the Montreal Massacre.
On December 6, 1989 14 women at École Polytechnique were systematically killed by a gunman who proclaimed his mission was to kill feminists. Women were separated from men and killed because they were women.
The Fourteen Not Forgotten are:
Geneviève Bergeron, 21, was a second year scholarship student in civil engineering.
Hélène Colgan, 23, was in her final year of mechanical engineering and planned to take her Master’s degree.
Nathalie Croteau, 23, was in her final year of mechanical engineering.
Barbara Daigneault, 22, was in her final year of mechanical engineering and held a teaching assistantship.
Anne-Marie Edward, 21, was a first year student in chemical engineering.
Maud Haviernick, 29, was a second year student in engineering materials, a branch of metallurgy, and a graduate in environmental design.
Barbara Maria Klucznik, 31, was a second year engineering student specializing in engineering materials.
Maryse Laganière, 25, worked in the budget department of the Polytechnique.
Maryse Leclair, 23, was a fourth year student in engineering materials.
Anne-Marie Lemay, 27, was a fourth year student in mechanical engineering.
Sonia Pelletier, 28, was to graduate the next day in mechanical engineering. She was awarded a degree posthumously.
Michèle Richard, 21, was a second year student in engineering materials.
Annie St-Arneault, 23, was a mechanical engineering student.
Annie Turcotte, 21, was a first year student in engineering materials.
One of the responses to the killings was the creation of the White Ribbon Campaign, which started in 1991 by men who wanted to help stop violence against women. Men and boys take the pledge “to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls.”
More men need to take the pledge. December 6 was an extreme example of violence, but it is not an isolated event. For many women in Canada, violence is something they experience daily.
Domestic violence is a huge problem in Alberta. Alberta leads the provinces in domestic assault, homicide-suicide, stalking and is third in domestic homicide. From 2000 – 2006 in Alberta, over 170 homicides were identified as domestic violence related. This represents about one third of all the homicides in the province.
Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters is trying to raise awareness about this right now. Their Cup of Tea campaign brings attention to the fact that 1 in 4 Canadian women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime and that during the time it takes to brew a cup of tea, 3 Canadian women will be assaulted by her intimate partner. Please go to www.acws.ca to donate to Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters and help them help the women of this province.
The Canadian Labour Congress has a campaign right now called 20 Days 20 Ways to End Violence Against Women. If you go to their website, you can send a postcard to the prime minister that has a suggestion for policies that could help all Canadians and especially women at risk.
Violence in Canada isn’t just gendered, it’s also racialized. Indigenous women in Canada between the ages of 25 and 44 are five times more likely to die as a result of violence than their non-Indigenous counterparts. We read the introduction to the stories of Amnesty International’s Stolen Sisters Campaign, which works to draw attention to and stop the violence against Aboriginal women.
You, too, can help stop violence. Don’t be violent yourself, call it out when you see it and lobby your representatives for policies that help women.
If you or someone you know needs help, here are some places you can turn: