December 6, 2012

December 6, National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:30 pm by sacetalks

Today is the 23rd anniversary of the Montreal L’Ecole Polytechnique massacre. On December 6, 1989, a man walked into a classroom at the engineering school, demanded that all of the men leave the room, and opened fire on the remaining women. Fourteen women were murdered that day for no reason other than because they were women.

Since that tragic event, December 6 has become the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. I ask that everyone take a moment today to honour the women whose lives were wrongfully cut short in an act of gender-based violence, and to reflect on the issue of violence against women and what we can do to help end it and to support those women affected by it.

It is too easy to look at the tragic events that occurred 23 years ago today and dismiss them as being the actions of a deranged mad man. Really, the sentiments expressed by the killer are familiar rhetoric that we often hear in our society. These sentiments include the idea that women are not equal to men in intelligence or strength, that history demonstrates that the only people who shaped our world in any significant way were men, and that when women take action against their inequality they are being selfish and thieving the advantage that men have rightfully earned. This is not the anomalous ranting of someone our society considers crazy; these are familiar arguments that are often used against women in their fight for a fair and equitable world. It is important that we understand the ways in which our current culture tacitly condones violence against women. The only way to end gender-based violence is to dismantle the patriarchal beliefs that enable it.

Both MacEwan University (City Centre Campus) and the University of Alberta are hosting memorials today. If you have the chance to stop by and honour the victims of the Polytechnique massacre, please do so.

MacEwan University, City Centre Campus: A memorial has been set up in building 7 next to the spiral stair case. There is a card in which participants can record their messages of remembrance and hope. The card will be sent as a symbol of remembrance and support to L’Ecole Polytechnique University.

University of Alberta: There is an Ice Vigil installation outside the ETLC building. Hot chocolate is being served at noon and there is an opportunity to collectively honour the victims of Polytechnique and reflect on the issue of violence against women.