Montreal Massacre highlights urgent action to end violence against women and girls

Almost three decades ago, Canadians were devastated by the biggest mass killing of women in our nation’s history. 

It was December 6, when a gunman entered l’École Polytechnique de Montréal, separated the female and male engineering students, and opened fire on the young women, murdering 14 of them and injuring several more. 

Known as the “Montréal Massacre”, the date is now observed as the National Day of Remembrance and Action to End Violence against Women. 

Since that tragic day in 1989, women’s groups, human rights activists, Canada’s gun control coalition, community supporters, and the labour movement have lobbied governments to address the issue of violence against women and girls. 

Twenty eight years later, the events of December 6 continue to serve as a reminder of how unsafe women and girls are – in their homes, at work or school, and on the streets.

For the second consecutive year, the Status of Women Canada is leading a social media initiative – The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence – and urging Canadians to take a pledge using the hashtag Your #ActionsMatter.  

From November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) to December 10 (International Human Rights Day), HEU will promote this national social media project to highlight the critical need to stand up against all forms of gender-based violence.

And while all women and girls are vulnerable to violence, RCMP stats show Indigenous women are six times more likely to experience violence than non-Indigenous women – and that only accounts for police-reported incidents. 

On December 6, HEU remembers those 14 women gunned down in the prime of their lives: 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.