Students held candles at a vigil event at NorQuest College in downtown Edmonton Thursday to mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, created after 14 women were slain at Montreal’s l’École Polytechnique in 1989.
“They died because they were women,” Minister of Status of Women Danielle Larivee said in a statement. “They died because they dared to break down barriers and enter fields dominated by men. We lost their leadership, their example and the contributions they never had a chance to make.”
The gunman, Mark Lepine, 25, killed the women after separating them from the men and then fatally shot himself.
“Sadly, the hatred that fuelled that attack continues today,” Larivee said. “Violence against women and girls is still too common in Alberta and in an age of social media, we don’t have to look far to find examples of gender-based hate levelled at people we know.
“It is up to each of us to stand up to that hatred. We can do it by challenging demeaning comments, providing support for victims of abuse and doing what we can to shift our conversations towards respect, equality and consent. And we can do it by treating our friends, families, neighbours and strangers with the love and respect that they deserve.”
Where to go for help:
• Call 911 if you or someone you know is in immediate danger.
• Call the Family Violence Info Line at 310-1818 for 24-hour advice and support if you suspect that someone is experiencing family violence.
• There are 12 sexual assault centres across Alberta that provide counselling and crisis support, as well as 24-hour support and information lines: 780-482-HELP (north); 403-266-HELP (south)
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