Sunday, 6 December 2009

Canadian National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

Today is Canada's National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Twenty years ago today, on December 6, 1989, 25-year-old Marc Lépine entered the École Polytechnique in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and shot twenty-eight people before killing himself. Armed with a (legally obtained) semi-automatic rifle and a hunting knife, Lépine killed 14 women. His suicide note blamed feminists for ruining his life and included a hit list of 19 Quebec women who Lépine viewed to be feminists and wanted to kill.

This was obviously a gender-based crime - an attack on women simply because they were women. When Lépine entered one classroom, he separated the men from the women and then told the men to leave. He asked the remaining women if they knew why they were there; one answered "no" so Lépine said, "I am fighting feminism." He later said, "You're women, you're going to be engineers. You're all a bunch of feminists. I hate feminists."

In the aftermath of this tragedy, Canadian gun control laws became much more strict. Since 1991, the anniversary of the massacre has been designated the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. That same year, the White Ribbon Campaign was launched by a group of men in London, Ontario, Canada.

The wikipedia entry regarding the Montreal massacre is a good place to start if you want to learn more about this tragic event; there are many useful links to further information.

And so today, we remember the 14 women killed:
  • Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student
  • Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
  • Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
  • Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
  • Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student
  • Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student
  • Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique's finance department
  • Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student
  • Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
  • Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student
  • Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student
  • Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
  • Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student
  • Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student

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