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National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, by Joyclin Coates

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.
National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, by Joyclin Coates
National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, by Joyclin Coates

Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student

Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student

Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student

Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student

Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student

Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student

Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique's finance department

Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student

Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student

Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student

Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student

Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student

Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student

Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student


24 years ago today, on December 6th 1991, these young women were gunned down by a lone assailant. Ever since December 6th has been observed as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women. The motivation for the killings is well documented. They were shot because they were women, and because they were involved in fields of study which have long been a stronghold for male careers.

Around the world the fight for girls and women to get an education which would help lift them out of dependence and poverty continues. This was never so prominent this past year as when a sixteen year old school girl named Malala Yousafzai was shot by theTaliban in Pakistan. Her survival and “coming out swinging” attitude of defiance became a symbol of hope and almost won her a Nobel Peace Prize.

The right to be educated, freedom from abuse and all manner of violence, sexual and other physical and psychological attacks, continues to be an elusive goal for many women.

Our current government sought to remove the Long Gun Registry which was implemented to reduce risk of death and injury to many, including women in abusive domestic situations. They celebrated when they accomplished this in February of 2012, in the face of resistance from most law enforcement agencies.

In the face of regressive creep of this patriarchal mentality we must continue to stand up and speak out and take action against the violence against women here in our own backyard, as demonstrated by the “Frosh week Chants” at Saint Mary's and other universities. Let's fight this mentality wherever we encounter it.

It is like walking on the sand at the edge of the ocean. With vigilance and tenacity you keep reaffirming your position on solid ground as waves come in to undermine your step .


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