On December 6th 1989, a gunman entered the École Polytechnique in Montreal, separated men and women and shot nine women, killing six. It’s been known as the Montreal Massacre ever since. In 1991, Member of Parliament Dawn Black introduced a private members bill to the House of Commons proclaiming December 6th as a national day of remembrance. The bill was passed with the support of all parties.
We remember December 6th because violence against women continues in Canada today. While most acts of violence are not as spectacular as the Montreal Massacre, they are alarmingly common.
- Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least on incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.
- On average, one woman is killed every six days in Canada by her intimate partner.
- On any given day in Canada, over 3,300 women are forced to sleep at shelters to escape domestic violence.
- There are over 40,000 arrests each year in Canada for domestic violence, 12% of all violent crime in Canada. Since only 22% of such cases are reported, the actual number of violent domestic incidents is surely much higher.
- As of 2010, there were 582 cases of missing or murdered aboriginal women in Canada – a situation that has caused both Amnesty International and the United Nations to call upon our government to take action.
- More than 1 in 10 Canadian women have reported being stalked in a way that made them fear for their lives.
We must never stop working to end the violence against women that is endemic in our communities. CUPE Alberta will support all efforts to make Canada a safer place for all sisters.