It was 22 years ago on December 6 that our country was horrified by the worst targeted mass murder of women in Canadian history. It’s now etched in our minds as “the Montréal Massacre”.
On December 6, 1989, crazed gunman and feminist-hater Marc Lépine entered l’École Polytechnique de Montréal, separated the women from the men and opened fire. In less than 45 minutes, 14 young women were dead. Dozens more were wounded. Why? Because they were women.
Every hour of every day, women and young girls in this country experience various forms of assault, bullying, sexual abuse and violence.
According to the Status of Women Canada, an average of 178 Canadian females were murdered each year between 1994 and 2008. Of those violent deaths, spousal homicide accounted for nearly one-third of them.
Marginalized women are most vulnerable. Aboriginal women are eight times more likely to be killed by their spouses than non-Aboriginal women. Immigrant and senior women are also more susceptible to family violence, while teenaged girls are sexually assaulted at a rate four times higher than boys.
And a staggering 201,614 police-reported violent crimes against Canadian women and young girls occurred in 2009, according to Statistics Canada.
That’s why on December 6, as we mark National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, HEU urges British Columbians, and especially our members, to acknowledge the women and young girls in this country who have experienced violence, and make a commitment to help put an end to it.
Commemorative ceremonies, candlelight vigils, rallies and events will be held across the country on December 6 as we honour the innocent women of the Montréal Massacre:
Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière (CUPE member), Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte and Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz.