Thirty-two years ago, on December 6, 1989, 14 young women tragically lost their lives when an armed man entered a mechanical engineering class at L’École Polytechnique in Montréal. Their names were:
Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte, Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz
This “antifeminist” event led to larger discussions in Canada about gender-based violence. The Parliament of Canada declared December 6 as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. It is a day to remember those who have experienced gender-based violence and the women who have died because of it.
Violence against women continues to be a serious issue in Canada today. 1 in 10 women are concerned about violence in their homes, with at least one woman being murdered by their domestic partner weekly. On any given day there are 3,000 women, and their children in emergency shelters, living there, to escape domestic violence in their homes. Indigenous women, women with disabilities, marginalized women and refugees are at a greater risk of experiencing violence and face more barriers to access services and justice.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, police services and emergency shelters have noticed an increase in calls reporting violence against women and girls. Repeated lockdowns have isolated women in precarious situations from friends and families. Risk factors for gender-based violence, such as unemployment, poverty and gender stereotypes have been amplified since the beginning of the pandemic. The UN Women, a United Nations body focusing on gender equality, has created, and launched the Shadow Pandemic awareness campaign. The goal of this campaign is to bring awareness to the increase in violence during the pandemic and to support important programs that are focused on fighting the Shadow Pandemic.
As society grapples with the personal and economic cost of domestic violence, many men and women are speaking out to end gender-based violence in Canada. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, there is somewhere to turn.
Learn what domestic violence is, who it impacts and how to get help here.
 Homicide in Canada, 2018, Joel Roy and Sharon Marcellus, Statistics Canada