Today is the National Day of Action and Remembrance on Violence Against Women. Today 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 23 years ago in Montreal, simply because they were women participating in a man’s world – women the shooter perceived to be feminists.
We also remember the many, many women in our own communities and around the world who have been the victims of gender-based violence since then, as well as those who have faced it and survived, and those who continue to face it every day.
We also commit to taking action to ending violence against women here in Canada and around the world. The Montreal Massacre is part of a larger picture. Still to this day women experience more family/intimate partner violence than men. What they do experience is more severe. And we can’t forget that those most at risk of violence are women of colour and Aboriginal women.
The fact that over 582 Aboriginal women and girls have gone missing or been murdered in Canada in recent years is a tragedy. The fact that it was allowed to happen without a national inquiry is a disgrace. And while individual perpetrators need to answer for the violence, we as a society need to talk about the social forces, including misogyny, that lead to this kind violence.
We’ve been talking about it for decades but we need to keep talking. Speaking out against violence needs to happen in the media, online, and face-to-face with our family, friends, coworkers, and even total strangers.
Please also support the YWCA’s Rose Campaign and consider taking some actions they suggest:
- Take action to change women’s lives by sending an email your MP
- Speak up about violence in your community
- Encourage people who commit violence to get help
- Teach girls to protect and empower themselves
- Raise children who can resolve conflict without violence
- Make sure your home, workplace and community are safe for women and girls
- Speak out against negative media images of women and girls
- Promote women’s economic and political equality
- Support organizations that work to end violence against women
- Donate your time and support the cause