The Montreal Massacre
Today marks 30 years since the December 6th Massacre of 1989 in Montreal.
The tragic mass shooting occurred at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal and is considered to be the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history. The shooter, Marc Lépine, entered a classroom with an automatic rifle and after separating the women from the men, he opened fire. Lépine murdered fourteen young women before committing suicide. His actions are believed to have been motivated by radical anti-feminist sentiment.
As a result of the abhorred act of violence, Parliament created the federal firearm control legislation (Bill C-68) and designated December 6th as The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women (Lanthier, 2019).
Contemporary social movements, specifically in terms of women's roles and female equality in society, are not reflected in the prison system. As a result, traditional gender-based stereotypes and prejudices are perpetuated in the institutions, presenting extensive difficulties for offenders upon release. However, current programs within the correctional system are working hard to rehabilitate inmates so that violence against women becomes a thing of the past. Furthermore, although women are a minority in prisons, Correctional Services Canada has ensured there are gender-responsive corrections specialized especially for women (Government of Canada, 2o17).
“The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women is about honouring those who have experienced gender-based violence; it is also a time to take action.” (Government of Canada, 2019)
As we commemorate this national tragedy, it is important to recognize that daily violence remains a harsh reality for many women, girls, and LGBTQ2 individuals across Canada. It is the responsibility of every individual in a society to create a culture of respect to ensure similar tragedies are never repeated.
Accepting others regardless of their differences is the foundation of a harmonious society. No one culture or belief is better or more correct than another, they are simply different.
These differences are what make us unique and contribute to the cultural mosaic that Canada is. These differences are what allow us to prosper and should unite us in the face of adversity rather than divide us.
December 6th falls within the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and this year's campaign, #OurActionsMatter, calls on Canadians to share the concrete actions they are taking in their own communities and in their own lives to speak up against acts of gender-based violence (The Government of Canada, 2019).
On behalf of QCSV, I encourage you to add your voice to the conversation and share the ways in which you are contributing to a solution that will end gender-based violence.
If you are a victim of violence, know you are not alone and that it is okay to reach out for support. The following links may provide you with some resources to acquire help: