National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

It’s hard to believe that 25 years have passed since the tragic massacre in Montreal. In 1989, 14 women studying engineering were murdered by Marc Lepine at L’Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal – solely because of their gender.

Sadly, all these years later the problem of violence against women is as pervasive as ever. Everywhere you look, there’s another story in the news—from Ray Rice to Jian Ghomeshi to Bill Cosby and beyond, the epidemic of violence against women is worldwide and cuts across all classes.

On December 6, 2014, Canadians will observe the annual National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women was enacted in 1991 to provide Canadians the opportunity to be conscious of the epidemic of violence against women, voice their opposition, and focus on action steps that can be taken to eradicate violence against women.

Canadian flags will be flown at half-mast on all federal buildings, and many events are held throughout the GTA, including memorial services and candlelight vigils:

  • Women’s College Hospital in Toronto will commemorate this day on Friday, December 5, 2014 from 12 noon – 1:00pm in the 6th floor Boardroom. There will be a keynote address by Janice Du Mont, a scientist at Women’s College Research Institute and Associate Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health entitled: Twenty-five years after the Montreal Massacre: What have we learned about violence against women?
  • The Women Won't Forget Candlelight Vigil—which will include a Native healing ceremony, music, spoken word performances, and guest speakers—takes place on Saturday, December 6, 2014 at Philospher’s Walk, located near the intersection of Bloor Street, Queen's Park Crescent and Avenue Road in Toronto. You are asked to bring a rose and candle.
  • At Metro Hall on Saturday, December 6, join Ms. Almas Jiwani, President of UN Women Canada and the HeforShe Campaign for the event “Ending Violence Against Women and Girls; We Are All in This Together.”
  • York University will also commemorate the occasion on Thursday, December 4 with the theme of gender-based violence and its impact on Aboriginal Communities. It will feature keynote speaker Victoria Pezzo (Executive Director, Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto), and the music of The Real Sun (artist, educator, community builder, and York University alumnus). Free hot chocolate will be served, and commemorative blankets will be given away.
  • A vigil is taking place in Bolton on Thursday, December 4 from 6:00 pm-7:00pm at the Caledon Public Library.
  • On Friday, December 5, the Orangeville Vigil takes place from 11:30 am-1:00 pm at Family Transition Place.

Looking for a way to participate and show your support? You can wear a white or purple ribbon to demonstrate your commitment to end violence against women. You are also encouraged to observe a minute of silence on December 6—in remembrance of not only the 14 women who were killed, but also in reflection of all women who have experienced violence.

At Interval House, it is our mission to end violence against women. We offer residential, community, and advocacy programs, to raise awareness of the problem and give women the best possible chance to succeed. It’s long past time to end violence against women. On December 6, and in the days leading up to it, show your support for the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.