December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada. On this day 22 years ago, 14 young women were senselessly murdered at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. They died because they were women.
Today we commemorate all the women whose lives have been cut short by an unjustified act of violence, and promote awareness of an issue that still prevails in our so-called modern society. Violence against women does not only mean physical abuse, it can also take the form of emotional, verbal, sexual, financial, and cultural abuse, and it can occur across all ethnic, racial, social, age and economic groups.
In the 22 years since the horrific events in Montreal, we have made some progress towards ending violence against women, but I strongly believe that we need to put in a more concerted effort as a community. Campaigns like the ‘White Ribbon’ are helping raise awareness of this issue in men and boys, and sharing the different ways in to get involved and help prevent gender-based violence.
December 6 is a day of remembrance, but it is also a day to take action, to find out how you personally can help to end violence against women.
For more information about violence against women, and how you can help, The Woman Abuse Response Program at BC Women’s Hospital has put together a list of resources:
If you are experiencing abuse, or know someone who is, and need to talk –
call VictimLINK 1-800-563-0808 (24 hour crisis line)
Shivinder Dhillon, WHRI Coop Student
Emily Wagner, Infectious Diseases Research Manager