On December 6th, 1989, a gunman entered École Polytechnique armed with a semi-automatic rifle. He claimed he was "fighting feminism" and opened fire, targeting only women. His attack resulted in the death of 14 women and the injury of 10 others before he turned the weapon on himself.
The horrific event lead to stronger gun control laws throughout Canada, and introduced changes in the tactical response of police to shootings. These changes were later credited with minimalizing casualties during the Dawson College shooting in 2006.
Today marks the 32nd anniversary of the attack at École Polytechnique and it has since been marked as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
This day of memorial is especially important this year, considering that domestic violence rates have increased during the pandemic, and the list of women who are victims of violence continues to grow.
In an alarming number of cases, lockdowns and social distancing mean many victims and children are now isolated with the very individuals who abuse them.
In 2021, 17 women were killed by their husband/boyfriend in Quebec, and approximately every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. (SOURCE)
More than 4 in 10 women have experienced some form of intimate partner violence (IPV) in their lifetimes. In 2018, 44% of women reported experiencing some form of psychological, physical, or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetimes (SOURCE).
Women who are Indigenous, or a part of the LGBTQ+ community, are significantly more likely to experience violence. The same is said for Canadian Immigrants. (SOURCE)
To commemorate the 1989 tragedy, Polytechnique is hosting a week of events that culminate Today (December 6th, 2021), where 14 beams of light will be projected into the sky from Mount Royal. Due to the pandemic, organizers are asking crowds not to gather.