‘It’s still hap­pen­ing’

29 years later, Cana­di­ans con­tinue to mourn the women killed at École Polytech­nique

Journal Pioneer - - FRONT PAGE - BY AL­I­SON JENK­INS

A brief but mean­ing­ful cer­e­mony was held Thurs­day at Trin­ity United Church to hon­our the 13 women gunned down at Mon­treal’s École Polytech­nique in 1989. Andy Lou Somers led the event, read­ing the names of each of the Mon­treal women mur­dered and 10 Is­land women who were killed by part­ners or ac­quain­tances in the 29 years since the Mon­treal Mas­sacre.

Dec. 6 is the an­niver­sary of the shoot­ing, it’s also the Na­tional

Day of Re­mem­brance and Ac­tion on Vi­o­lence Against Women.

One by one, vol­un­teers climbed the steps to light a can­dle in mem­ory of a mur­dered woman un­til the al­tar was filled with glow­ing ta­pers. Guest speaker Hon­ourable Tina Mundy ex­pressed strong emo­tion in her speech. The min­is­ter of Fam­ily and Hu­man Ser­vices hon­oured the events in Mon­treal and ad­vo­cated for change. Dar­lene Oat­way works in vic­tims’ ser­vices. She doesn’t have ex­act num­bers, but doesn’t feel there has been a de­crease in cases of vi­o­lence against women be­ing heard in Prince Ed­ward Is­land courts.

“It’s a time to stop and re­flect,” she said. “I hope there is a greater aware­ness in our pub­lic and greater con­cern for peo­ple in those sit­u­a­tions.”

“It’s still hap­pen­ing,” said Somers.

Women are still com­ing to her of­fice, the East Prince Women’s In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre.

“Since the #metoo move­ment, more women are feel­ing not as in­tim­i­dated to come and talk about it,” she ex­plained. “We are see­ing a lot more women with those is­sues, but I think it’s not be­cause of the fact it’s hap­pen­ing more, I think it’s the fact they’re more com­fort­able to come and get help.”

Somers has no­ticed that when one woman gets help word spreads and oth­ers find the courage to come for­ward.

“If they come to see us, we know where all those ser­vices are,” said Somers. “It’s like a one stop.” The East Prince Women’s in­for­ma­tion Cen­tre phone num­ber is 902-436-9856. The of­fice is lo­cated at 109 Wa­ter St. Sum­mer­side.

AL­I­SON JENK­INS/JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER

Const. Ash­ley Davis lights a can­dle for one of the École Polytech­nique vic­tims at Trin­ity United Church on Thurs­day.

AL­I­SON JENK­INS/JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER

Jean­nie Cameron sings an orig­i­nal com­po­si­tion about loss and fam­ily.

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