Written by Katie Sills, Manager, Student Rights and Responsibilities Office, and Carmen Law, Director, Belonging, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Every December 6th, we observe the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. The day was established by the Parliament of Canada to mark the anniversary of the 1989 murders of 14 women at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal, who were killed because of their sex.
On December 6, we remember:
- Geneviève Bergeron
- Hélène Colgan
- Nathalie Croteau
- Barbara Daigneault
- Anne-Marie Edward
- Maud Haviernick
- Maryse Laganière
- Maryse Leclair
- Anne-Marie Lemay
- Sonia Pelletier
- Michèle Richard
- Annie St-Arneault
- Annie Turcotte
- Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz
The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women is about remembering and honouring those who have experienced gender-based violence and mourning those who we have lost to it. We come together to remember the victims, while also reflecting on the women, girls, 2SLGBTQIA+ and gender-diverse individuals for whom gender-based violence continues to be a daily reality. It is also a time to take action. Achieving a college community free from gender-based violence requires everyone to educate ourselves and our communities on gender-based violence, centre the voices of survivors in our actions, and speak up against harmful behaviours.
*Please take care reading the history below. The content is descriptive and may be triggering.
History of the École Polytechnique Tragedy (Montreal Massacre)
On 6 December 1989, a man entered a mechanical engineering classroom at Montreal’s École Polytechnique armed with a semi-automatic weapon. After separating the women from the men, he opened fire on the women while screaming, “You are all feminists.” Fourteen young women were murdered, and 13 other people were wounded. The shooter then turned the gun on himself. In his suicide note, he blamed feminists for ruining his life. The note contained a list of 19 “radical feminists” who he said would have been killed had he not run out of time. It included the names of well-known women in Quebec, including journalists, television personalities and union leaders. (The Canadian Encyclopedia)
Wearing a White Ribbon
The vision of the White Ribbon Campaign is “a future free from gender-based violence”. Wearing a white ribbon is symbolic of remembrance, awareness and commitment to ending gender-based violence.
The White Ribbon Campaign is a movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, promote gender equity, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity.
We encourage everyone to wear a white ribbon to show support and openness to conversations and learning about gender-based violence.
Where to find a White Ribbon
White Ribbons will be available starting Monday, December 5th in Student Services on all three campuses.
For more information and support:
- The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, Government of Canada
- Ending Violence Association of Canada
- Canadian Women’s Foundation
- Assaulted Women’s Hotline
- Fem’aide (French only)
- Courage to Act
- SLC Student Rights and Responsibilities Office (tri-campus)
- SLC Student Wellness and Accessibility (tri-campus)
- Belonging, Human Resources and Organizational Development (tri-campus)