Thursday, December 03, 2009

10 years anniversary of the Montreal Massacre

10 years ago, on 6th December at about 17:00 14 women were murdered at an Engineering College at Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Marc Lépine, a 25-year-old Quebecker had tried to join the Canadian army and was knocked back and later tried to join the Polytechnique but was not accepted.  He believed he was a victim of feminism - women were on the Engineering course he wanted to enter and he believed that affirmative action had stopped his inflated right to attend the course.

His suicude note read: 
Please note that if I am committing suicide today ... it is not for economic reasons ... but for political reasons. For I have decided to send Ad Patres [Latin: "to the fathers"] the feminists who have ruined my life. ... The feminists always have a talent for enraging me. They want to retain the advantages of being women ... while trying to grab those of men. ... They are so opportunistic that they neglect to profit from the knowledge accumulated by men throughout the ages. They always try to misrepresent them every time they can.
Attached to the letter was a list of 19 prominent Québec women in non-traditional occupations, including the province's first woman firefighter and police captain. Beneath the list Lépine wrote: "[These women] nearly died today. The lack of time (because I started too late) has allowed these radical feminists to survive." 

When he entered the classroom he shouted "I want the women. I hate feminists!,"   He seperated the men from the women. He killed six women then went on a rampage throughout the college, looking to murder more women. Twenty minutes later he had killed 8 more women and injured 9 other women and 4 men - he then killed himself.

The murdered women were:

Geneviève Bergeron, aged 21;
Hélène Colgan, 23;
Nathalie Croteau, 23;
Barbara Daigneault, 22;
Anne-Marie Edward, 21;
Maud Haviernick, 29;
Barbara Maria Klucznik, 31;
Maryse Leclair, 23;
Annie St.-Arneault, 23;
Michèle Richard, 21;
Maryse Laganière, 25;
Anne-Marie Lemay, 22;
Sonia Pelletier, 28; and
Annie Turcotte, aged 21
In memory of these women 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence became an international campaign.  Throughout the world between the dates of  November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women and December 10, International Human Rights Day, in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights. 

The 16 Days Campaign has been used as an organising strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women by:
  • raising awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels
  • strengthening local work around violence against women
  • establishing a clear link between local and international work to end violence against women
  • providing a forum in which organizers can develop and share new and effective strategies
  • demonstrating the solidarity of women around the world organizing against violence against women
  • creating tools to pressure governments to implement promises made to eliminate violence against women
Patrick Stewart speaks out against violence against women today at Amnesty International Conference - see his speech here

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