December 6: Women, Men, Violence
Twenty–five years ago on December 6, 1989, a man, whose name you probably know, walked into the École Polytechnique in Montreal and shot to death fourteen women. He wounded fourteen more women and four men. He deliberately targeted the women, saying feminists had ruined his life.
Since that day there have been commemorations and controversies, coalitions for gun control, push back against that. Arguments about individual responsibility, societal responsibility. Whether mental illness was the root cause, or a broken and violent family life, or a society that denigrates women, or a society that denigrates outsiders. Whether men hate women, whether women blame men, whether any of us can live together in this world.
Perhaps one way to start, is to remember the names of the people who died. To remember the women and men who were wounded and damaged and changed forever by what happened to them. People like Lt. Pierre Leclair of the Montreal police, who found one of the first victims and identified her. She was Maryse Leclair, a fourth-year metallurgy student, and she was his daughter.
Plaque on the exterior wall of École Polytechnique Wikimedia Commons
Perhaps another way is to remember how many more have died because of sexual violence or domestic violence or gun violence since that day in 1989.
And still another way is to read and learn the ways others have tried to respond to those events and that tragedy. A short list:
Intimate personal violence in Canada by Anastasia Bake
Male peer support and violence against women : the history and verification of a theory by Walter S, DeKeseredy
Misogyny : the world's oldest prejudice by Jack Holland
Rage and resistance : a theological reflection on the Montreal Massacre by Theresa M. O'Donovan
Sexual assault in Canada : law, legal practice, and women's activism Elizabeth A. Sheehy eBook