Vigil for past, present

Event at city hall held in hon­our of 14 women slain, notes need to con­tinue to speak out


Peter Reid had a sug­ges­tion as he stood on the steps of city hall Thurs­day be­fore the start of a vigil mark­ing the 29th an­niver­sary of the Mon­treal Mas­sacre.

“I think a lot of peo­ple see the vi­o­lence against women go­ing on,” he re­marked. “And it’s ei­ther a fam­ily mem­ber or a neigh­bour and they don’t want to get di­rectly in­volved. And that’s what Crime Stop­pers is for.”

Reid is the chair of Crime Stop­pers Grey-Bruce, which runs the anony­mous tips line.

Some­times peo­ple call with tips about do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, but more should, he said.

“This way you never have to worry about tes­ti­fy­ing or any­one even know­ing that you called.”

He and oth­ers held a large poster, each with a black and white photo of one of the 13 fe­male en­gi­neer­ing stu­dents killed, and Maryse La­ganiere, the only non-stu­dent killed by a shooter on Dec. 6, 1989, just be­cause they were women at l’Ecole Polytech­nique de Mon­treal. The man shot 28 peo­ple and turned the gun on him­self.

When the name of each of the vic­tims of that shoot­ing was called Thurs­day, the per­son hold­ing that vic­tim’s photo placed a white rose in a bas­ket in the mid­dle of the gath­er­ing. A red rose was placed to rep­re­sent all other women vic­tims.

Stricter gun laws re­sulted from the mass killing, and emer­gency re­sponse to shoot­ings has changed, said Abby Drim­mie, the lo­cal Cana­dian Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion fundrais­ing, me­dia and spe­cial events co-or­di­na­tor.

But still a woman is killed by her in­ti­mate part­ner ap­prox­i­mately ev­ery six days in Canada, Robyn Wil­son told the vigil gath­er­ing. And half of all Cana­dian women are said to have ex­pe­ri­enced an in­ci­dent of phys­i­cal or sex­ual vi­o­lence since the age of 16, she said.

Wil­son also has ex­pe­ri­enced re­la­tion­ship vi­o­lence, she said in an in­ter­view. She speaks in schools about men­tal health and emo­tional well­ness and vol­un­teers as a peer sup­port worker with Ad­dict’s At­tic out­reach ser­vice.

She said the most im­por­tant ad­vice of­fered dur­ing the vigil was to “sup­port and lis­ten to peo­ple who come for­ward with their story.

Be­cause that’s what women need. Be­cause they need peo­ple to be­lieve them.

“You have to ask those ques­tions and trust your gut in­stinct. If some­thing doesn’t feel right, you have to ask. Be­cause you could save some­body’s life.”

Kayeli Gold­man, a worker at the M’Wik­we­dong Indige­nous Friend­ship Cen­tre, said vi­o­lence against women “doesn’t al­ways look like a mas­sacre of 14 women.”

It’s in our homes, schools, hospi­tals and doc­tors’ of­fices, on TV and in so­cial me­dia. It dis­pro­por­tion­ally im­pacts women of colour, marginal­ized women, women seek­ing refuge and Indige­nous women and girls, she said.

“It’s im­por­tant that we ac­knowl­edge each and ev­ery one our com­plic­ity and our re­spon­si­bil­ity” so that where there is vi­o­lence we speak out against it.

Drim­mie en­cour­aged par­ents to raise boys par­tic­u­larly with “care, nur­tur­ing and re­spect.”

She cited fem­i­nist writer An­drea Dworkin: “It is in­cum­bent upon each of us to be the woman that Marc Lap­ine wanted to kill. We must live with this hon­our, this courage. We must drive out fear. We must hold on. We must cre­ate. We must re­sist.”


Robyn Wil­son, left, Abby Drim­mie, cen­tre, and Kayeli Gold­man were among those who spoke at a vigil on the steps of OWen Sound City Hall Thurs­day mark­ing the 29th an­niver­sary of the Mon­treal Mas­sacre which left 14 women dead.


Peter Reid places a rose in hon­our of Maryse La­ganiere, the only non-stu­dent killed dur­ing the mas­sacre of 14 women at l’Ecole Polytech­nique de Mon­treal 29 years ago, dur­ing a vigil on the steps of city hall in Owen Sound on Thurs­day.

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