Guelph Marks Anniversary of Montréal Massacre

Friday, December 8, 2006

Written by May Warren

On December 6 about a hundred people gathered in the Boathouse Café in Guelph to mark the National Day of Action and Remembrance Against Violence Against Women. The day marked the 17th anniversary of the Montréal Massacre, where 14 female students at Ecole Polytechnique University were shot and murdered by a lone gunman. The victims, all engineering students, were shot because they were women. Since then, December 6 has become a time to remember all woman and children who have suffered violence at the hands of their male partners.

The Boathouse vigil began with brief opening remarks and the reading of a poem about the Montréal Massacre. Donations were taken up for the Guelph Wellington Women in Crisis Centre and postcards were collected to send to Parliament calling for more funding and attention to the issue of violence against women. A harpist from the University of Guelph played in the background.

After this attendees lit candles and headed out into the cold December night, as the names of all 14 women who were killed that day were read out. This was followed by the reading of the names of all the women and children who have been killed in Ontario by their family members, since last year’s National Day of Action and Remembrance Against Violence Against Women.

Fourth Year University of Guelph Nutrition student Anna Bencetic says the vigil was a good way to remember the past and look towards what we can do in the future. “You don’t realize everyday how much of a problem violence against women really is,” she says, adding, “I’m glad I came.”

According to Statistics Canada, roughly 25 women are killed every year in Ontario alone, due to spousal homicide, and 51% of women say they have experienced at least one episode of physical/sexual violence since they were 16.

Before opening fire on his victims, Montreal Massacre gunman Marc Lepine separated the men from the women and yelled “I hate feminists.”

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