By Darlene Seto
On December 6, 1989, a man with a rifle walked into l’École Polytechnique, a Montreal school, and ordered the men to separate from the women. He then shot and killed 14 women–simply because of their gender.
Established in 1991 by Parliament, December 6 has been designated a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women. For over a decade, the University of Calgary has commemorated the event each year.
“Violence against women is a hidden problem,” said Leslie Tutty, who is one of the planned speakers of the event. “It affects people much more broadly than one would think.”
This year, the memorial will be in the great hall of the Rosza Centre at 12 noon Monday. The ceremony, called “Taking Stock of 15 Years of Action” will focus on new initiatives since the tragic events of 1989. These initiatives include those of the Prairie Action Foundation and RESOLVE, programs focusing on solutions to violence and abuse. Memorial candles will be sold, with proceeds going to the university’s 14 Women’s Memorial Award fund.
December 6 will provide a time to reflect upon and remember the 14 women tragically killed, as well as all women who have been subject to gender-based violence.
“It is an ongoing issue,” added Hermina Joldersma, the U of C President’s Advisor on Women’s Issues and planner of the memorial. “[Violence against women] has a huge ripple effect that has a huge cost to society, socially and financially.”
Members of the campus community are welcome to attend the memorial.