|Algonquin remembers women lost in violence|
|Written by Andy Pinsent|
|Tuesday, 06 December 2011|
Commemorating the lives of women who were killed and injured in a horrific college shooting 22 years ago, Algonquin reflects on an important and historic tragedy in Canada.
It took only twenty minutes to change Canada forever.
On Dec. 6, 1989 Marc Lépine entered École Polytechnique in Montreal after 4 p.m. Claiming that he was “fighting feminism,” Marc Lépine opened fire on campus, killing 14 women, injuring 14 others as well as four men.
Algonquin’s vice president of student services Deborah Rowan-Legg remembers the day very clearly, having just started at the college six months prior.
“You can imagine being in one post-secondary institution and hearing news like this about another,” she said. “It was a very sorry time.”
On the 22nd anniversary of what’s known as the Montreal Massacre, Algonquin students, staff and faculty took a day to reflect on the largest mass shooting in Canadian history, taking part in The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women.
Sporting purple ribbons and bracelets in support of victims of abuse, dozens gathered in the J-N building link to sign a pledge to end violence against women.
Rowan-Legg says a woman at Algonquin suffering from abuse has a lot of resources on campus to help them.
“We encourage our students to come to counseling services; after discussing their situation with a counsellor if it’s appropriate we will refer them to an external community resource,” Rowan-Legg said.
Leila Navabzadeh of the Ottawa Sexual Assault Centre was at Algonquin to inform people of the widespread problem of abuse. She says supporting those who are abused is a tough enough order as it largely goes unreported. Seventy-eight per cent of sexual attacks go unreported to police.
“Once you get into the legal system a lot of things happen that re-victimize surviors,” Navabzadeh said. “It turns in to a sort of he said she said battle.”
Navabzadeh also added that 80 to 90 per cent of victims are assaulted by someone they know.
“A lot of times the media will play it as a stranger but the vast majority of the time it’s someone they know.”
The tragedy has left a lasting mark on Canadian culture.
The film Polytechnique was released in 2009 with some controversy. The film, written by Quebecers Jacques Davidts and Denis Villeneuve, depicts the tragedy and was critically acclaimed after being screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009.
The shooting also brought changes to gun control. A survivor of the shooting organized the Coalition for Gun Control, and with the help of victims, their families and supporters, successfully lobbied the government for stricter gun ownership control.
Their work led to the passage of Bill C-68 or the Firearms Act of 1995, which brought stricter gun control. New requirements included training, screening of firearm applicants as well as regulations regarding ammunition storage and creating the gun registry.
Parliament also got involved in the aftermath, creating a sub-committee on the Status of Women. In June 1991 the sub-committee released a report "The War against Women," and following its recommendations, the federal government established the Canadian Panel on Violence Against Women in August 1991.
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 06 December 2011 )|
|< Prev||Next >|