Thank you those that were able to join us at one or both of our December 6th vigils; each recognizing the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. This day of reflection, established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, marks the anniversary of the murders in 1989 of 14 young women at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. They died because they were women. These vigils provide us with an opportunity to remember, to discuss, and to act on ending gender-based violence.
Below is a fragment of Norah’s comments from the vigils:
“Today we are seeing examples of the abuse of power and privilege in every news cycle. More and more women are coming forward and sharing their stories of powerful men demoralizing, victimizing and abusing them – because they believed they had the right, the power and the privilege to get away with it. The really unusual thing that is happening right now is that women are being believed. And men (some men) in positions of power are being held accountable.
The young women who died so tragically on December 6, 1989 wanted to have a full, happy and unexceptional life. Except for the fact that they were trailblazers in their own chosen fields, they were not very different than other young women attending college or university and starting out on their lives. They certainly did not anticipate becoming the face of a movement. But with their deaths,they did. They were individuals, mourned and grieved and loved by their families and friends. Their lives mattered. But in their deaths, they became exactly what their killer feared most – they became a rallying point, symbols of a woman’s right to equality, education and above all the right to lead a violence free life. And although it all happened 28 years ago, we still gather to mark this day, to remember them as individual women with lives and stories of their own. But we gather to keep alive the story of their deaths so that we can help to create a culture that understands, recognizes and forbids the underlying societal norms that allows any acceptance of this kind of act of hatred and misogyny.
It is precisely because we gather every year that women who are coming forward with their stories now are being believed. Because we, and hundreds of people across the country, remembering and keeping these stories alive, have started to shift the culture.”
Please watch this impactful video produced by Women’s College Hospital:
Emily Rowsell spoke last night at the Bolton vigil, which was hosted by the Caledon Public Library. Emily was recently interviewed by the Caledon Enterprise on her perspective of the tragedy which took place 28 years ago. You can read it HERE.
Here are some photos from both of this year’s vigils: