Remembering the École Polytechnique massacre

John Brannen
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Pictou County women, family groups to hold ceremony, candle light vigil

Friday, the Pictou County Interagency Committee on Family Violence and members of the Pictou County Chapter of Silent Witness along with Silent Witness Nova Scotia will make a presentation at Pictou Academy to acknowledge the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. 

Katie Williams, community development coordinator at the Pictou County Women’s Centre holds a poster for Friday's candlelight vigil for National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. It marks the anniversary of the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre, in which fourteen women were murdered. 

Dec. 6 is the anniversary of the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre, in which fourteen women were murdered.

The Pictou County Women’s Centre believes that violence against women and family violence destroys lives and weakens the fabric of our society.

“As a population, it takes a heavy toll on our communities and our economy,” the press release noted. “We have all been touched by family violence and the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Woman represents an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society.”

According to the General Social Survey (GSS), Nova Scotia’s rate of sexual assault was

40 per 1,000 population aged 15 and over in 2004. This rate was not significantly different from the national rate of 21 per 1,000 population. However, while the national rate remained unchanged from 1999 to 2004, Nova Scotia’s rate increased significantly during that time.

The GSS showed that the vast majority of sexual assault victims are female, while more than 90 per cent of accused are male. Most victims of sexual assault are young, with close to half being under the age of 25.

Silent Witness Nova Scotia, one of the groups participating in the ceremony, is a program that aims to honour women who have lost their lives due to partner/spousal/common-law violence, raise awareness in Nova Scotia about violence in our communities and involve communities in responding proactively in ending violence.

“Please join us on Dec. 6, 2013 as we commemorate the National Day of Remembrance with Silent Witness’s powerful presentation and we invite you to consider our theme: past, present and future.”

Through this theme, Pictou County agencies aim to honour the women who have lost their lives to violence and acknowledge the women who may be currently living in fear as they survive daily acts of violence at the hand of their intimate partners.

They aim to promote hope for a future where gender equality runs deep, where women no longer face daily reminders of sexism and stigma.

While the ceremony at Pictou Academy isn’t open to the public, a recording of the service will be available on Eastlink in 2014.

The public is however welcome to attend a candlelight vigil Friday night at 6 p.m. at the gazebo by Glasgow Square in New Glasgow.

 

john.brannen@ngnews.ca

On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn

 

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