On December 6, 1989, 13 female students and a female administrator at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal were murdered because they were women. The shocking impact of their deaths led Parliament to designate December 6 as a national day of remembrance. Nearly 30 years later, the effects of this tragedy continue to be felt and women remain targets because of their gender.
The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women is about remembering victims; it is also a time to take action. We each have the opportunity and the responsibility to stand up against misogyny, sexism, and hate — and it starts with creating a culture of respect.
As well as commemorating the 14 young women whose lives ended in an act of gender-based violence that shocked the nation, December 6 represents an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the fact that women in Canada, and around the world, continue to face disproportionate levels of violence each and every day.
It is also an opportunity to consider the women and girls for whom violence is a daily reality, and to remember those who have died as a result of gender-based violence. Finally, it is a day for communities to consider concrete actions to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.
In addition to the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women on December 6, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women takes place on November 25 and marks the first day of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, which ends on December 10, with International Human Rights Day.