Montreal Massacre Victims Honoured at Gillian's Place

Fourteen candles were lit atop crosses bearing the photos and names of the young women killed 25 years ago in what became known as the Montreal Massacre.

At the inaugural memorial candlelight vigil held at the Gillian’s Place shelter in St. Catharines Saturday, about 50 supporters braved a cold wind as the victims’ names were read aloud.

The women died Dec. 6, 1989 in a 20-minute rampage by a lone gunman at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal.

The crime shocked the world, especially for its targeting of women as victims.

Twenty-five years later, officials said Saturday, there are many more services available for women at risk but no end to violence against them.

On average, there are 25 women killed each year in Ontario due to domestic violence.

“We need some tougher accountability from the justice system,” said Anne Armstrong, executive director for Gillian’s Place. “And a lot more education for young people, to teach them about healthy relationships early on — that violence against women is not OK.”

Armstrong feels violence against women is a societal problem, but one that is preventable.

“As a society, we need to take action,” she said.

Since 1991, Dec. 6 has been recognized as the National Day of Commemoration and Action on Violence Against Women. It’s a day the faces and names of those 14 women — and countless others injured or killed in acts of violence — are remembered.

“I want people to walk away with a commitment to do something, to not stand by,” said Armstrong. “If you see it (violence) happening, take action in some way.”


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