December 6, 1989 − December 6, 2015: Keeping Their Legacy Alive
December 6, 1989: in 22 minutes, 27 people were injured and 14 women were killed at Montreal’s École Polytechnique by a gunman before he turned the trigger on himself.
The gunman had studied for admission to the school, but was not accepted – a decision he blamed on “affirmative action” policies. In a suicide note he left on his body, he described his rage against women and identified their pursuit of social equality as the event that singularly “ruined his life”. He included a list of prominent women in non-traditional occupations – the province’s first women firefighter and police captain, for example –and beneath this, the gunman wrote: “[These women] nearly died today.”
Before December 6, 1989 many Canadians might have understood incidences of violence against women as individual acts of meanness, a symptom of stress, poor anger management, or as an unexplainable accident. But the Polytechnique rampage was a strategic attack of hatred and fear. The gunman’s actions echo acts of domestic murder and abuse committed against women even today. Three quarters of Canadian women assaulted or threatened by their intimate partner also describe their partners as controlling in one or more ways. And half of all Canadian women have survived at least one incident of sexual or physical violence.
The Sexual Assault & Violence Intervention Services of Halton (SAVIS) provides free, confidential and non-judgmental 24-hour support to all survivors of sexual violence. We advocate against violence in the community at large and promote through community education.
This December 6, we remember all women and girls in Canada who have experienced violence. SAVIS believes that personal, social and political change will better the lives of all women, men and children. We believe that education and information goes a long way toward the prevention of violence. Remember December 6. Remember: Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barabara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair,, Anne Marie Lemay, Sonja Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arnault, Annie Turcotte, Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz.
Originally Submitted by Nicole Pietsch & Ingrid Zollikofer, 2011.