It has been 20 years since Marc Lepine walked into L'Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal with a semi automatic rifle and separated the men from the women and then proceeded to murder 14 female engineering students. The crime library calls in gendercide. We call it the Montreal Massacre. Lepine thought women were the cause of his problem and he deliberately chose this engineering school where women were enrolled in studies dominated by men.
It was a day of violence that shocked Canada. It eventually lead to better gun control laws and the gun registry. I believe more women responded by marches to "take back the night" to assert their rights to live and move without fear in the community, day or night.
I have written about this in previous years. If you want more of the detail go here.
I think of these young women. They would be in their forties now, probably with families of their own and involved in careers. Who knows what their contributions to society might have been.
In a way, their deaths galvanized a generation of women and raised the national concern for violence against women.
There continues to be far to much violence against women in our culture. I shall never understand hostility too many men have toward women. At least. in part, they turn their rage on women because they can. Society need to insist that is never acceptable at any level, whether in the home or in the community. Canada was nudged to make some improvements to better protect women, but more needs to be done.
I also think of Madam Lepine, the mother of the murderer. She has lived with knowing her son did this. She also lost her son that day. For years, she was silent but recently I have heard her speak on radio of the effect of this day on her. It has been a hard cross for her to bear.
We need to remember these women's names and think of their contributions in life lost to us all.
Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student
Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student
Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student
Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique's finance department
Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student
Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student
Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student
Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student