Though a time of celebration and festivity, December also holds a dark past; I’m reminded of a day that will be marked with tragedy for years to come. It’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
Twenty-five years ago on December 6 a lone gunman went to a Montreal engineering school named École Polytechnique and killed 14 women and injured 14 others. He walked into a classroom and separated the men from the women. He looked at the women and told them “You’re women, you’re going to be engineers. You’re all a bunch of feminists. I hate feminists.” He then opened fire on them from left to right, killing six and injuring three. He then moved on to other areas of the school, targeting women specifically.
People described the gunman as a troubled young man who felt women were taking jobs away from men. In his eyes, feminism and women’s rights was preventing him from moving forward. Women were his scapegoat.
In a truly equal society, a man would never blame women for his shortcomings. But in the unequal society we live in, some men feel they can take their anger out on women. That’s one of the reasons why half of all women will be physically or sexually assaulted at least once in their lifetime. What can we as a society do to reduce violence against women? That is the question we are asking our members. Some of the essays will be featured in our upcoming e-newsletter.
This Saturday is the 25th anniversary of the shooting. Take a few minutes to remember the 14 women who were murdered. You can take a minute of silence, light a candle in the evening, or attend a Light the Night ceremony. Let’s make sure these women don’t die in vain. Any form of violence against women is unacceptable.