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December 6th is the national Day of Remembrance
and Action on violence against women. On that date in 1989, in what has become
known as the Montréal Massacre, a gunman entered the École Polytechnique in
Montréal, isolated, shot and killed 14 women before killing himself.
The White Ribbon campaign was begun in 1991 by a group of
men who wanted to move beyond soul searching; to work together with women to
end violence against women. Wearing a ribbon means choosing not only to
remember the women who fell that day but those men and women who continue to be
victims of violence.
It is estimated that only 50% of domestic violence incidents
are reported. 10-20% of all men will be sexually violated in their lives. Today
our country is ranked 5th in sexual assaults per capita out of every
country in the world.
The lunchtime vigil, held in the Library, commemorated both
the women who lost their lives during the massacre and to end all violence
continuing now against both men and women. This day gave us an opportunity to
recommit to stop violence against women and, more importantly, allowed us to
honour and celebrate the lives of the 14 women who were killed.