On December 6, 1989 Marc Lepine entered L’École Polytechnique and proeceeded to go on a rampage of unspeakable horror. When he was finished fourteen wonderful women lay dead while thirteen others were injured. His reason? He hated women, specifically feminists. Much has been discussed about his mental state, his dysfunctional childhood and a mysoginist father who abused the entire family but I feel this obscures a more important facet of violence against women and children: justice.
As a survivor/victim of domestic violence, I can honestly tell you that the justice system fails us all on a regular basis. There are no tangible or concrete consequences for the abuse of women and children and our society still treats half the population as unimportant and this sort of behaviour as a joke. As a women and mother who took the journey through the system I can honestly say it reabused my child and I. There is a very good reason most women don’t report being beaten and the responsibility rests fully on the shoulders of those in power. In my own scenario, the perpetrator is still free and has never been punished for his crimes. This happens more frequently than any of us would like to acknowledge but it must be addressed before any change can be affected to make this world a happier and safer place for us all.
Although we women have made great strides toward equality and empowerment, there remains a deficit in certain areas of society. More female justices sitting on the bench, tougher penalties for stalking, physical and sexual abuse and a highschool curriculum which includes a segment of learning focused on the effects of family violence. Knowledge will set us all free.
The women below should be living vibrant and dynamic lives within their communities but instead their haunting absence reminds us of our own responsibility to those who can no longer fight the good fight for equality. Beautiful women of L’École Polytechnique you will never be forgotten. Please take a moment today to reflect on the loss of these very important young women and if you are so inclined, please say a prayer.
Top Row L to R: Anne-Marie Edward, Anne-Marie Lemay, Annie St Arneault,
Annie Turcotte, Barbara Daigneault, Barbara Maria Klucznik, Genevieve Bergeron
Bottom Row L to R: Helene Colgan, Maryse LeClaire, Maryse Leganiere, Maud Haviernier, Michele Richard, Nathalie Croteau, Sonia Pelletier