25 years ago an armed man killed 14 innocent women in Montreal. A vigil was organized at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Surrey campus on Friday to remember to 14 victims.
On December 6, 1989, 14 women were killed by a mass murder at the Montreal post-secondary school when the gunman, Marc Lepine, shot them before turning the gun on himself.
Kwantlen’s memorial hopes to bring awareness to violence against women while honouring the lives of those lost a quarter-century ago.
Surrey-Green Timbers MLA Sue Hammell said she attends every year.
“It’s a day to remember the massacre,” she said. “That was a horrific event that symbolized violence against women.”
Kyla Rand, Kwantlen Faculty Association (KFA) Coordinator of Administrative Services said École Polytechnique is a school similar to Kwantlen
“It’s very near and dear to our hearts,” she said.
Rand said the half-hour memorial at Kwantlen’s Surrey campus, at 12666 72 Ave., organized by the KFA, will begin at noon on Friday.
“Wepassout14rosestomembersinthecrowd,eachrepresentingoneofthevictims,andeachroseislaiddownonaplaque,”Randsaid. “We also light a candle for each victim and an additional candle to represent all of the victims.”
Hammell added that every woman’s name is read out.
“It’s symbolic of remembering them.”
Hammell said it’s not only important to honour the victims, but to also to look forward and find ways to eliminate violence against women.
The YWCA has created two social media campaigns to encourage men and boys to take a stand on violence against women and girls.
They are challenging them take a photo holding a sign with “I say no to violence against women” written on it – then sharing it on social media with the hashtag #ISayNotTo.
The YWCA has also started a #NotOkay campaign, with the hope people will flag content featuring violence against women as being wrong.
Hammell likes the ideas.
“We have to use every media, and social media is a great way to get the word out.”
There will also be a candlelight vigil held at Holland Park Dec. 6 from 4:30–5:30 p.m. in Surrey, which is sponsored by the Public Service Alliance of Canada, West Valley Fraser Area Council and the BC Federation of Labour. For more information, check here.
In Langley, Friday night vigil
On Friday night 12th annual remembrance vigil was hosted by the Soroptimist International of the Langleys as well as the Ishtar Transition Housing Society – which provides a 12 bed facility in Langley that provides safe, temporary emergency accommodations for women and their children leaving an abusive relationship.
Parsons noted there were 460,000 sexual assaults in Canada in the last year, and of those, 33 per cent were reported to police, 29 per cent were reported as a crime, 12 per cent had charges laid, six per cent were prosecuted, and three per cent led to convictions.
“Of those convictions, some may be quite minor,” Parsons said. “Roughly 98 per cent (of sexual assaults) are not in any way addressed. I’m not sure how we can call sexual assault illegal and actually convict three per cent of assailants. So ending violence against women and children is more than changing the laws; it’s about changing culture. It’s about how we perceive this problem and how we address it.”