December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women in Canada. Established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, this day marks the anniversary of the murders of 14 female engineering students at l’Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal on December 6, 1989, whose lives were tragically ended in an act of gender-based violence and violence against women.
Now, 29 years later, remembering the events of that day and what caused them is still as important as ever as violence against women remains a pervasive issue in our society with over half of Canadian women experiencing at least one incidence of physical or sexual violence over the course of their lives.
Gender-based violence affects everyone, including male-identified individuals. Women, minorities, indigenous people, LGBTQ2SIA+ folks and gender non-conforming people are at much higher risk and are disproportionately impacted by violence. When we acknowledge the intersectionality of oppression, factors such as homelessness, poverty, unemployment, isolation, and mental health only increase the risk.
We hold the White Rose campaign each year to commemorate the lives of the 14 students at l’Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal on December 6, 1989 and all those whose lives have been harmed or lost to gender-based violence. The campaign also reminds us that we all play a role in eliminating violence from our community.
We encourage students, staff, and faculty to take concrete steps against acts of gender-based violence by participating in the following activities on Thursday December 6th: