Monday 6 December 2010

National Day of Remembrance - Dec. 6, 1989

On this day, the 21st anniversary of the 14 women murdered in École Polytechnique massacre in Quebec. The December 6th story is a sad one.

Women have fought so hard for equality, for maternity leave, and the right to attend university, to vote (USA: Victoria Park, 1919; 1927 in Canada), to be declared 'persons' . 

Christina Long - murdered by Internet Luring
In 1989, a male anti-feminist murdered 14 female engineering students. Targeting women, it was the first time that this type of random violence was directed at women. He entered a classroom and told the men to leave. His rant, obviously a seriously disturbed man, who blamed women for his issues. This man was rejected by the army for irrational behaviour. He screamed out at the victims that he hated feminists, they "ruined his life", he wrote in his suicide letter. Nathalie Provost survived, and graduated engineering. She spoke out.

  • Last week in Saint John, a man pled guilty to stabbing his estranged wife, Deborah Gunn, 25 times (May, 2009).
  • Durham Family Services reports a 24% increse in referrals for domestic violence.
  • Canadian Mental Health Association reports a rise in domestic violence calls in 2009.
  • Calgary shelters, where the recession was large, reports 200% increase.
  • 2008  women murdered by an intimate partner -  16
  • 2009  women murdered by an intimate partner -   16
  • 2010  already we are up to 21 incidents
Most are murdered by men whom they know, not strangers, although not all.  

  • 41 % of female victims were murdered by rifles and shotguns
  • 5.8% were murdered with handguns.
There is much coverage accorded our precious soldiers who have died in battle. Little about these abused women, and often their children, who die at the hands of their former partners, all angry men. Restraining orders are not widely upheld.

Fleeing abuse is a difficult prospect. See my previous posts: Muskoka Housing Statistics and The myths of Muskoka Housing
A sad history on violence
  • Adequate, affordable and accessible housing is a safety issue… it is part of protecting women from the cycle of violence. (YWCA, 2009) 
  • In the 12 months between April 1, 2007 and March 31, 2008 – 101, 000 women and children – entered shelters in Canada – 75% were fleeing abuse. 
Many blame Mike Harris' mid-90s cuts to women's services, social assistance and housing. Women's shelters have to turn away victims of violence.

The statistics often are not reflected in skewed media coverage. Canadians publicly mourn 153 soldiers dying in Afghanistan, yet...
Between 2000 and 2006
    Women & children
    deserve to live in safety and love
  • Canada lost 101 soldiers in war, and 500 women to domestic violence. 
  • More than half of Canadian women have been victims of at least one act of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16 (Status of Women -Canada)
  • Every year, about 25 women are killed by their intimate partners in Ontario.
  • Almost 40% of women are assaulted by spouses said their children witnessed the event, which can lead to PTSD and long-lasting effects.
  • In sexual assault cases 80% know their abusers and 90% of incidents take place at home.
The Natalia Novak murder or the beloved Toronto real estate agent, Susan Ryan, murdered by her former Toronto police officer husband. They need to have their stories told.

I leave you with hope. 
Despite such horrific inquests, inadequate restraining orders, and continued stories of abuse, the May/Iles Inquest 1998, was one that laid down the rules for identification of protocol, mandatory charge policies, specialized courses for OPP, and other improvements to this system:
Do  not be a bystander.
If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.


Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Wow, great post. I'm not proud to admit that I do not remember the 1989 killings of the women.

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

What an important, helpful, hopeful post Jenn!!

Jay said...

A powerful article.