Twenty-five years ago today a man walked into L’Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal and killed 14 women. He killed them because they were women. He killed them because he felt that feminists had ruined his life. I am not going to name him because it is easy to find his name and he is not the one we should be remembering. December 6th is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada and the date was chosen to mark this massacre.
These 14 women were killed because they happened to be in the shooter’s path and became targets simply because they were women. They have they have the right to be remembered and he does not.
Geneviève Bergeron, civil engineering student
Hélène Colgan, mechanical engineering student
Nathalie Croteau, mechanical engineering student
Barbara Daigneault, mechanical engineering student
Anne-Marie Edward, chemical engineering student
Maud Haviernick, materials engineering student
Maryse Laganière, budget clerk at the school
Maryse Leclair, materials engineering student
Anne-Marie Lemay, mechanical engineering student
Sonia Pelletier, mechanical engineering student
Michèle Richard, materials engineering student
Annie St-Arneault, mechanical engineering student
Annie Turcotte, materials engineering student
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz, nursing student
Sadly today is about remembering more than these 14 women. It is about remembering and committing to action to support all the other women out there who are and have been victims of violence. As we have seen over the past couple of months, we still have a lot of work to do on this front. Too many women are on the receiving end of violence and harassment. Too many women are injured and killed – often by their domestic partners. Too many women are afraid to come forward to tell their story. Too many women are shamed and disbelieved for telling their stories. Too often the justice system does not provide justice and instead provides opportunities for re-victimization.
Too often men are guilty of suppressing women with words and fists.
Today I recommit to challenging the status quo whenever I see or hear discrimination or violence against women. I do this for my wife, my mother, my co-workers and most especially my three daughters who I desperately hope will be able to go through their lives without being subject to violence.