National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

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A senseless act of gender-based violence at École Polytechnique in Montréal, Québec occurred thirty-three years ago today, on December 6, 1989.

The fourteen women killed in the École Polytechnique Massacre on December 6, 1989 (The Canadian Press)

The event took the lives of fourteen women: 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, and Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz.  

As a result, the Canadian government has designated December 6 a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. In Canada and around the world women, girls, and 2SLGBTQI+ individuals are affected by discrimination and violence with even greater reports being found during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jacques Grenier/Archives Le Devoir

This national recognition is to not only remember the victims of Ecole Polytechnique but also to remember those who have experienced gender-based violence and who have survived it. Additionally, it is a time to educate and act by attending memorial services or vigils and through listening to survivors. 

UNB Saint John will mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women with the support of a volunteer committee and the Students Representative Council to host a memorial service tonight at 7PM at the Ganong Hall Lecture Theatre.

The memorial service will include various speakers such as: Chris Doran, professor of sociology on UNB’s Saint John campus; Norah Dudley, UNB alum (BA’14), Saint John campus; Reg Roy, Anishinaabe Elder; Michelle Kwok, instructor of engineering, UNB’s Saint John campus; Trish Murray-Zelmer, campus sexual assault support advocate and UNB alum (MEd’17); Alyson Lutes – Sexual Assault Response Team, Saint John; Sheila Burt, acting assistant director, Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research and UNB alum (BAA’00). 

Jacques Grenier/Archives Le Devoir

Following the memorial service, will be a vigil walk to Hans W. Klohn Commons where an exhibit, Silent Witnesses will be present to honour the lives lost due to domestic violence in New Brunswick. The exhibit will be on display until the end of the exam period. 

If you cannot attend, there are other ways to honour and remember the victims, which include wearing a white ribbon and observing a moment of silence at 11:00am.

With education and through remembering events such as the École Polytechnique, we can all work towards finding solutions to ending gender-based violence. 

If you or someone you know are struggling with domestic violence click here for information and phone helplines.

Ashley is a fifth-year student in the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education concurrent program. Now in her final year, she hopes to further studies with the goal of promoting international advocacy for educational rights. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to her vinyl records, watching films, and hiking.