On December 6th, women across Canada gathered to mark the eleven-year anniversary of a mass shooting that killed fourteen female engineering students. The person behind the gun on December 6, 1989 at École Polytechnique in Montreal that marked Canada’s worst mass shooting in history, was Marc Lepine, who authorities charge targeted the engineering students solely because of their gender.
According to findings released by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS), 64% of women reported feeling somewhat or very worried while waiting for or using public transportation alone after dark; 51% of all Canadian women have been victims of at least one act of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16; and women account for 85% of all reported sexual-assault crimes.
Women’s rights organizations across the globe have organized major campaigns to stop violence against women and raise awareness about the numbers of women assaulted, harassed and murdered everyday simply because of their gender. The Status of Women Canada has organized to urge elected officials to pass tougher laws that will bring to justice perpetrators of gender crimes and sexual assault. December 6th was declared the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women by the Canadian parliament in lieu of the Montreal Massacre.