On December 6, we remember Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, and Annie Turcotte, who were gunned down on this day in Montreal, 1989, because they were women.
Last year I wrote an article for the Vancouver Observer about why we need to care about the Montreal Massacre, even more than twenty years after the fact. I was surprised by the vitriol the article received from people who opposed the long gun registry, which I mentioned supporting. Thankfully the opponents of the registry lost their fight in Parliament, but over the past year there’s been more reason for feminists to be concerned with violence against women than to celebrate victories.
In particularly, rates violence against Aboriginal women – part of our colonialist legacy – are still shockingly high. The Native Women’s Association of Canada identified 153 cases of murder of Aboriginal women between 2000 and 2008: a number which represents 10% of female homicides despite the fact that Aboriginal women make up only 3% of the female population. For more information and statistics, read NWAC’s 2010 Sisters in Spirit report.
Unfortunately our federal government is much better at creating ad campaigns about supporting crime victims than they are at taking real action to stop violence, especially against Aboriginal women. Recently the Harper government announced it would no longer fund NWAC’s work on the Sisters in Spirit campaign, which includes maintaining a database of missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Today remember the 14 women who died in Montreal, as well as other victims of violence against women, and those women in Canada and around the world who continue to live with the threat of violence every day. We also commit to taking action, keeping situations like the battle over the long gun registry in mind to remind us that when success is possible when feminists and other progressives stand united for equality.