Remembering and Taking Action – Ending Violence against Women
December 3, 2010 by flfrobsonhall
On December 6, 1989, 14 women were murdered at l’Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal. A man named Marc Lepine walked into an Engineering class, separated the males and females, and began shooting. In the span of a 20 minute attach, Lepine killed 14 women at the University before killing himself. These women died because they were women. 10 other women and 4 men were injured in Lepine’s attack.
In 1991, December 6th was established by Parliament as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women to commemorate the deaths of these young women in gender-based violence, and to raise awareness and promote reflection by Canadians on the issue of violence against women in our society. This is a day to remember and think about women who have died as a result of or have been affected by violence. It is also a day to consider how you as an individual, and we as a group of law students can make a difference in the still sobering statistics on violence against women.
This year marks the 21st anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. Despite the time that has passed since this tragic event, violence against women is still a pervasive reality in the lives of many Canadian women. Status of Women Canada offers these statistics:
Women and girls are more likely to experience certain types of serious violence and assault:
- on average, 178 females were killed every year between 1994 and 2008;
- in 2008, there were 146 female victims of homicide in Canada. Of these, 45 were victims of spousal homicide; and
- young women are particularly vulnerable. Between 1997 and 2006, young women (aged 15 to 24) were killed at a rate nearly three times higher than for all female victims of spousal homicide. During the same period, the rate of sexual assault for girls (under age 18) by family members was four times higher than for boys.
Some groups of women in Canada are particularly vulnerable to violence:
- the spousal homicide rate for Aboriginal women is more than eight times that for non-Aboriginal women;
- immigrant women may be more vulnerable to family violence due to, among other things, economic dependence, language barriers, and lack of access to resources; and
- senior women are twice as likely as senior men to be victims of violent crime perpetrated by a family member.
While December 6th falls at a very busy time of year for law students, the Feminist Legal Forum feels it is important to mark the day. Take a moment to pause, consider and reflect on the posters that the FLF’s December 6th Committee has made and will be displaying in Robson Hall on December 6th. Buy a white ribbon, or stop to ask those selling the ribbons about the campaign.
We would also like to invite everyone to participate in a candlelight vigil march down Broadway and sunrise memorial at the Legislature on the morning of December 6th.
The sunrise memorial will be held at the Legislature and begins at 8 am on December 6th. The guest speaker at this event will be Ms. Stephanie Forsyth (President and CEO, Red River College). Please note that Manitoba Status of Women has asked people planning to attend the memorial to RSVP at 945-6281, and this should be done as soon as possible. There will be a collection of unwrapped toys at the memorial for children at the Central Park Women’s Resource Centre. Contributions are welcome!
Members of the FLF will be attending, and we are planning to bus back to Robson Hall following the memorial in time for morning classes.