VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Vigils are happening nationwide today to mark 23 years since the massacre of 14 women at Montreal’s L’Ecole Polytechnique.
Ten other women and four men were hurt when gunman Marc Lepine opened fire at the engineering school in this day back in 1989. Canada — BC, in particular — has become much less safe since then, according to one frontline worker.
Hillah Kerner with the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter says evidence heard at the recent Missing Women Inquiry is just one example of a situation that hasn’t improved. “How the police [refused] to respond to complaints and reports about, in this particular case, the Missing Women, but in general, about all cases of violence against women.”
Kerner feels men have a special role to play in breaking the cycle. “We definitely see more and more men who are not only willing to commit to not to conduct male violence against women, not to attack women… but also to call other men to behave better toward women.”
She also points to a group called “Friends of Rape Relief” and its “I Pledge to End Rape” campaign which calls on other men to treat women with respect and dignity and not to commit violence against them.
She feels four things need to happen to help end violence toward women:
- Restore core funding for women’s groups and services
- Reduce the number of women living in poverty
- Make sure police conduct thorough investigations into any complaint of male violence against women
- Promote women’s equality
The anniversary of the L’Ecole Polytechnique massacre is being marked locally with two events.
The BC Federation of Labour is hosting a candlelight vigil at the Burnaby Civic Square Library on Willingdon beginning at 6:30 p.m. Faculty and staff at the University of the Fraser Valley are gathering at the Chilliwack campus, starting at 7p.m.