The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women

Geneviève Bergeron. Hélène Colgan. Nathalie Croteau. Barbara Daigneault. Anne-Marie Edward. Maud Haviernick. Barbara Klucznik. Maryse Laganière. Maryse Leclair. Anne-Marie Lemay. Sonia Pelletier. Michèle Richard. Anne St-Arneault. Annie Turcotte.

These are the names of the 14 women at L’ècole Polytechnique de Montreal who were murdered on December 6th, 1989, with the sole reason being that they were female. This tragedy, also known as the Ecole Polytechnique Massacre, led to the designation of December 6th being the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

It has been 30 years since the mass shooting and while the #MeToo Movement has made a tremendous impact and spread awareness, around 137 women across the world are still killed by a member of their own family every single day. In Canada alone, sexual assault, human trafficking and online abuse are on the rise with one woman being killed by an intimate partner every six days. One in three women will also experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. These statistics are significantly worse for women and girls with special needs, members of the TRANS and Indigenous community. Indigenous women are six times more likely to be killed than non-Indigenous Canadian women. For all of them, violence has become an everyday reality that impacts their physical, sexual, and emotional health, hindering their ability to function in their education, work, and communities.

Visit unwomen.org for more statistics and information.

On December 6th, we take the stand against misogyny, sexism, gender-based hate and violence. Via the morning announcements, the way we think and act MUST change. Here are some things that you can do right now:

  • Be Aware. Research and discuss gender inequality and violence against women.
  • Think about gender roles and stereotypes and learn about how they contribute to this problem. 
  • Assess where gender inequality and discrimination happen in your life.
  • Support women and girls because We Can All take action to overcome violence.
  • Act. Take a pledge to change gender inequality and end all violence.

White ribbons will also be distributed in your Period A class following the moment of silence after the National Anthem. Please wear these ribbons all day to honour the fourteen female university students and to show our support. A memorial display can be seen in the front foyer with more facts including a pledge poster that you can sign your commitment to awareness and action. Holiday class ornaments and angles made by the Brain Injury Association of Waterloo Wellington will also be on sale for $10 each. All profits will go to a charity of our choice.

In addition to the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women on December 6, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women takes place on November 25 and marks the first day of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, which ends on December 10, with International Human Rights Day. Please use this time to educate yourself about this important issue, take a pledge and support one another as we work towards equality for all.