Voices attempt to silence the violence against women

Jamie Heap
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Community remembers victims of Montreal massacre in special United Church service

(From left): River Hebert District Elementary school student Jenna Gower, Abby Gower, Chloe Fagan and Emily Boudreau were four of 14 readers who read in memory of the 14 young women whose lives were tragically taken by Marc Lepine just over 24 years ago on December 6, 1989 in Montreal. The four also participated in a similar service Friday at Amherst First Baptist Church.

RIVER HEBERT-Fourteen female readers of all ages remembered the fourteen women who were violently murdered by a lone, male gunman at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, Quebec on December 6, 1989 in a special, non-denominational church service Friday morning in River Hebert.

The man who perpetrated these heinous pre-meditated murders was Marc Lepine, a 25-year-old Montreal man who shot and killed 14 women. Lepine also wounded another 14 people: 10 women, four men. Lepine, who blamed feminists for ruining his life, died on December 6, 1989 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The theme for this year's National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women was 'Help us, strengthen us and renew us.' As for the event in River Hebert, Pam Harrison organized it while Laurie Norris read the scripture and delivered the reflection inside the United Church hall in River Hebert. Inside the hall was a large table that was covered by a blue cloth that represented the ocean; sand and beach stone, beach glass, candles, cross as well as a bowl of water.

Four candles representing hope, peace, joy, love were lit while women wore purple ribbons. Each of the 14 readers, who were either Anglican, Baptist, Roman Catholic or United, laid a sea shell on the cloth and offered a petition to stop the violence against women; to stop human trafficking, allowing education for all children, no matter their gender; the ability to live without fear of violence; safety for aboriginal women sisters; ending domestic violence; immigrant women; safety for women living in shelters for battered women; women as role models; stop bullying; women living with mental illness; new policies and conflict resolution.

At noon on Friday at the First Baptist Church in Amherst, there was a Red Shield for women killed in Cumberland County due to violence. In addition, the church’s Christmas tree was decorated with leaves bearing the name of support groups. Finally, 14 red roses were laid to remember the 14 women killed by Marc Lepine on December 6, 1989.One white rose was laid in hope that men who commit violent acts against women will receive help. Along with Harrison, four River Hebert District Elementary school grade six girls-Emily Boudreau, Chloe Fagan, Abby Gower and Jenna Gower-participated in the First Baptist church’s service.

Organizations: Ecole Polytechnique, United Church, First Baptist Church River Hebert District Elementary school

Geographic location: RIVER HEBERT, Montreal, Quebec Amherst Cumberland

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