Vic­tims of gen­der-based vi­o­lence hon­oured

Medicine Hat Women’s Shel­ter hosts an­nual event, held on the Dec. 6 an­niver­sary of the Mon­treal Mas­sacre

Medicine Hat News - - FRONT PAGE - IMO CRANKER [email protected]­hat­news.com Twit­ter: MHNmocranker

On Dec. 6, 1989, 14 women were killed while at­tend­ing school in Mon­treal — to this day it is still Canada’s largest mass shoot­ing.

The mas­sacre was an act of gen­der-based vi­o­lence, and groups around the coun­try, in­clud­ing here in Medicine Hat, get to­gether each year to re­mem­ber the vic­tims.

“We get to­gether ev­ery year on this day to re­mem­ber the events in Mon­treal and to re­mem­ber the vic­tims,” said Medicine Hat Women’s Shel­ter So­ci­ety ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Natasha Car­valho. “Events like this are al­ways im­por­tant to re­mem­ber and it’s im­por­tant that we say the names of the 14 vic­tims ev­ery year.

“This shoot­ing in par­tic­u­lar is very im­por­tant to us tonight be­cause it was an act of gen­der-based vi­o­lence and it was a de­lib­er­ate at­tack on women — I think for us it re­ally spurs a lot of the work we do and gives us a sense of why we do this or what has called us to this field.”

The women’s shel­ter was set up at Medicine Hat Col­lege all day Thurs­day cre­at­ing flow­ers out of pa­per and help­ing raise aware­ness of the his­tory around the mas­sacre, as well as in­form­ing peo­ple of its pro­grams. It then called for a quick cer­e­mony at 6:30 p.m. where the 14 vic­tims’ names were read and a mo­ment of si­lence held.

“Peo­ple have been mak­ing the flow­ers with mes­sages of hope,” said Car­valho. “We’re go­ing to be de­liv­er­ing them to some of our clients or maybe some fam­i­lies that need a lit­tle bit of sup­port.”

Car­valho says the shel­ter had more than 1,300 clients last year and that the “vast ma­jor­ity” of those were women.

“I think peo­ple can for­get that this is an is­sue in ev­ery com­mu­nity,” she said. “This is still a pretty weighted is­sue and that’s why we hold th­ese events.

“We want this to be in peo­ples’ minds so they can think about th­ese things and how we can find fixes and so­lu­tions for things like gen­der-based vi­o­lence.”

The shel­ter is run­ning its Adopt a Fam­ily pro­gram and is look­ing for com­mu­nity spon­sors to help out fam­i­lies lo­cally dur­ing the Hol­i­day sea­son.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the shel­ter and its pro­grams go to www.mh­wss.ca

NEWS PHOTO MO CRANKER

Above: A board re­mem­bers the 14 women killed in the 1989 Mon­treal Mas­sacre, Canada's largest mass killing and an act of gen­der-based vi­o­lence.Right: Women’s shel­ter ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Natasha Car­valho speaks dur­ing the event.

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