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Dec. 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

December 6Let us all reaffirm our commitment to ending sexism and violence against women.

Today (Dec. 6) is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. It was on this day in 1989 that fourteen women at the École Polytechnique in Montreal were murdered because of their gender.

On Dec. 7, 1989, Stevie Cameron wrote, “Now our daughters have been shocked to the core, as we all have, by the violence in Montréal. They hear the women were separated from the men and meticulously slaughtered by a man who blamed feminists for his troubles. …Fourteen of our bright and shining daughters won places in engineering schools, doing things we, their mothers, only dreamed of. That we lost them has broken our hearts; what is worse is that we are not surprised.”

Earlier this week, Vancouver-based Battered Women’s Support Services executive director Angela Marie MacDougall said, “We have seen some changes [over the past twenty-six years]. However, the reality remains that every six days a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. So far in 2015, 16 women have been murdered in British Columbia, 37 in the province of Ontario, and 138 in Canada overall at the hands of male violence.”

And Brandy Kane, who is the Battered Women’s Support Services manager of Indigenous women’s programs, has stated, “Since the Montreal Massacre, over 1,200 Indigenous girls and women have gone missing or have been found murdered in Canada. This is caused by a history of violence beginning with colonization and continuing through with systemic discrimination.” Pam Palmater has written, “The dispossession of Indigenous Nations came about, in part, through the violent oppression of Indigenous women. …During the residential school era, thousands of indigenous girls were subjected to rape, torture and physical abuse in residential schools.”

Judy Rebick has commented, “I think [what happened on Dec. 6, 1989] was both an act of terrorism and an extreme form of the violence women face every day. …The best way to remember these fourteen women is recommit ourselves, women and men, to the fight for women’s liberation and an end to violence against women.”

The Council of Canadians denounces sexism and gender-based violence and harassment.