The Day Someone Came To Kill All The Women
Over at BlogHers Act Canada, we usually focus on two broad sets of issues: the environment and family health. This week, one of our writers opened up a discussion on something that has nothing to do with saving trees or cutting carbon emissions, and that is only tangentially related to health, but something that nonetheless demanded attention for the simple reason that we're women. And for women, the issue of hatred directed violently toward women always deserves and demands our attention. For Canadian women, that issue commands our attention most powerfully in the month of December
In three days, it will be December 6. On that day, we'll all remember the day that someone came to kill all the women.
I'll let Jessica from BHAC explain it:
On Dec. 6, 1989, a gunman confronted 60 engineering students during their class at l'École Polytechnique in Montreal. He separated the men from the women and ordered the men to leave, threatening them with his .22-calibre semi-automatic rifle. He then began a shooting rampage that spread to three floors and several classrooms, jumping from desk to desk while female students cowered below.
He roamed the corridors yelling, "I want women. Where are the women?"
Before opening fire in the engineering class, he called the women "une gang de féministes" and sneered "J'haïs les féministes [I hate feminists]." One person pled that they were just students taking engineering, but the enraged gunman wouldn't listen. "I'm fighting feminism!" he shouted. He shot twenty-seven people and then killed himself by
shooting himself in the face, leaving the survivors inside to struggle out of their hiding places and rush outside to the waiting police... Parents of the Polytechnique students, alerted by the evening news, waited outside the school crying, wondering if their daughters were among the dead and dying.
All told, Marc Lepine shot twenty-seven people that day, killing fourteen women...
Yeah. It was horrible. It remains horrible. No Canadian woman who remembers that day (I was still in my teens, but I remember the news stories vividly) could forget it. That was the day someone came to kill all the women. All of them. Because they were women.
December 6th is now designated as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada. Established in 1991 by an Act of the Canadian Parliament, it is the day of remembrance for the victims of the massacre at École Polytechnique de Montréal, and the day that we set aside to remember that the battle for women's full and uncompromised welcome into the public sphere is not yet won. So long as any women, anywhere, are ever, under any circumstances, killed or hurt or even shamed for being women, our work will not be done.
Join BlogHers Act Canada in remembering the day that someone came to kill all the women - wear a purple ribbon, put a purple ribbon on your blog, write something about the things we might to do, the steps we might take, to begin ending violence against women - do something, anything. So that it never happens again.
Catherine blogs as Her Bad Mother, and when she's not worrying about the state of feminism and the condition of womankind in the new millenium, she sometimes amuses herself by looking for long-lost family members. Or changing diapers. Either/or.