December 6, is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada. Established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, this day marks the anniversary of the murders in 1989 of 14 young women at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. They died because they were women.
As well as commemorating the 14 young women whose lives ended in an act of gender-based violence that shocked the nation, December 6 represents an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society. It is also an opportunity to consider the women and girls for whom violence is a daily reality, and to remember those who have died as a result of gender-based violence. And finally, it is a day on which communities can consider concrete actions to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.
We must never forget…
GENEVIÈVE BERGEON , 21 years
HÉLÈNE COLGAN, 23 years
NATHALIE CROTEAU, 23 years
BARBARA DAIGNEAULT, 22 years
ANNE-MARIE EDWARD, 21 years
MAUD HAVIERNICK, 29 years
BARBARA MARIA KLUCZNIK, 31 years
MARYSE LAGANIÈRE, 25 years
MARYSE LECLAIR, 23 years
ANNE-MARIE LEMAY, 27 years
SONIA PELLETIER, 28 years
MICHÈLE RICHARD, 21 years
ANNIE ST-ARNEAULT, 23 years
ANNIE TURCOTTE, 21 years
“I can’t help but think about the morning of Wednesday, December 6, 1989: young women getting out of bed as if it were any other
day, appearing mildly distracted at breakfast, their heads full of details for the next exam, or vacation plans for Christmas. Dreaming.
Thinking about life. At that very moment, elsewhere in the city, someone who probably hasn’t slept all night is writing his hate letter,
preparing his weapon and his ammunition, going over each step leading him to his death mission. He’s found scapegoats for his failures:
women, who deny the existence of the old father who commands, gives orders, excludes, dominates, punishes, beats, who holds the
right to life or death over women and their children. The killer-to-be knows that the Almighty father can never exist again, and he would
do anything rather than accept the challenge his own life represents: to deserve, not overpower, the love which is no longer his privilege
simply because he was born male. His reasoning is superficial, one-dimensional: women today are out of line; all feminists want to be
like men, so there’s only one solution, to put them in their place before it’s too late, before women become human beings like
everybody else. No more, no less.”
(excerpt from “A Matter of Life or Death: Second Installment” by Élaine Audet, The Montreal Massacre (gynergy books 1991)
“When I think of that poor young girl who, lying on her stretcher, said that she wasn’t even a feminist, I feel like crying.
When I think of that girl in the classroom, the only one who tried to reason with the killer, crying out: “We’re not feminists.
We’re only women who want an education,” I feel like screaming.”
(excerpt from “Letter to the Media” by Louise Malette, The Montreal Massacred (gynergy books 1991).
*For more information or to donate to the YWCA December 6th fund: http://www.dec6fund.ca/
**On December 6th and every day please take some time to remember….