Monday, December 7, 2009

The Day After

Yesterday was December 6.

Here in Canada, December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. This day was established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada to mark the anniversary of the 1989 murders of 14 women at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal. Only women were killed that day, because the killer consciously targetted women.

Since December 6, 1991, women, men and children have gathered in school gyms and community halls and churches across Canada to focus on the grim realities of women and children who live -- and die -- in violence. In my area, we gathered yesterday to listen to the daughter of a local woman who was murdered by her partner and to Jeannette Corbiere Lavell, the president of the Native Women's Association of Canada. We lit candles for the fourteen women murdered in Montreal twenty years ago and for every woman in our area who has died violently. None of this was done to stir or condone hatred of men but, rather, to acknowledge the lives of these women and to remind everyone present that violence against women and children continues.

Hatred is not a solution. For me, it is not an option. It is my hope that every person who attends these gatherings or reads this post or loves another person will transform his or her thoughts, feelings and words into action.

This short list of links is a starting point for those of you who would like more information. Please do something -- today, the day after December 6 -- to become more aware, to change your words and ideas, to act. Every single human being is worth it.

The Montreal Massacre -- coverage in the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) archives
Violence Against Women -- an international journal
YWCA December 6 Fund -- offers interest-free loans to women leaving violent homes
Men for Change -- a pro-feminist organization dedicated to promoting gender equality and ending sexism and violence
Learning and Violence -- a website that explores and explains the impact of violence on learning

No comments: