Dec. 6: National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

On Dec. 6, 1989, 14 women were murdered in a disturbing act of misogynist violence at École Polytechnique. Murdered by a man who claimed the act was “fighting feminism,” these women were targeted because they were pursuing engineering degrees, and the attacker believed these jobs should be performed only by men.

December 6th is now known as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. The date received official designation in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, two years following the shooting.

On Dec. 6, events are hosted annually across the country to commemorate the lives of those murdered, to reflect on how and why women are disproportionately affected by violence in our world, and to take action.

Certain communities are disproportionately affected by violence in our society, including Indigenous peoples, LGBTQ+ folks, people with disabilities, seniors, low-income people, and racialized people. Through considering the root causes of violence against marginalized groups – and learning about how different forms of violence intersect - we can better understand how to address violence against women.

Dec. 6 takes place during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, which began on Nov. 25 and ends on International Human Rights Day on Dec. 10. It follows the Transgender Day of Remembrance, commemorated on Nov. 20. These dates are important reminders that more needs to be done to prevent gender-based violence.

If you are looking for a place to start, we have provided some ideas below:

  1. Reach out to your local transition house, sexual assault crisis centre, women’s resource centre, or friendship centre
  2. Educate yourself and others about the root causes of gender-based violence 
  3. Speak out about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, domestic and sexual violence, and injustice in Canada’s criminal justice/prison system
  4. Support local events that highlight issues of gender-based violence
  5. Believe sexual assault survivors

Post HSA’s December 6th poster at your workplace or in your community. You can download it here.

Today, we remember:

Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, Maryse Laganière, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcott, and Maryse Leclair