‘It’s still happening’
29 years later, Canadians continue to mourn the women killed at École Polytechnique
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.
Const. Ashley Davis lights a candle for one of the École Polytechnique victims at Trinity United Church on Thursday.
Jeannie Cameron sings an original composition about loss and family.