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Yesterday marked the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. Marc Lepine shot and killed 14 women 23 years ago. And yesterday, a small number of women and a handful of men gathered in a downtown Amherst church to remember the victims, but not just the ones in Montreal.

Some of you hurt your wives, and some of you call them stupid or fat or ugly. You know who you are.

Some of you are living in fear. Did you wear the proper thing, cook the right meal, answer the correct way?

You know who you are, too.

Marc Lepine’s shooting spree wasn’t a case of domestic violence but it’s an anniversary that creates an opportunity for conversations we don’t often have. Family hurting family. Fear, anger and pain poisoning relationships that should be pillars of strength in our lives.

It’s mostly men who stab, kick, punch and hospitalize their partners. There are men physically abused by women, and their pain is terrible, too. But we can have a day that’s just about women and the violence they experience.

Except that domestic violence isn’t just about one group (men) hurting another group (women). Everyone in the home is hurting.

The children live with fear and uncertainty. Confusion is their daily bread. Love isn’t a constant, warm protection. Love is kisses one day and fists the next. These lessons linger a lifetime.

The woman also lives with fear and uncertainty. Fear for her kids. Fear of her partner. Fear if she stays, fear if she goes, fear that her children will watch her die.

Fear.

The man is hurting, too, and that needs to be said. It’s not an excuse. It doesn’t compensate. But a realization needs to be made.

You know who you are and you know how you feel. Love isn’t supposed to feel angry. You’re not supposed to think the woman you love is a bitch or an idiot, lazy or uppity. The instincts you’ve been trusting, the feelings you’ve been acting on, are wrong. You’re missing something. You’re missing everything.

Caring for your kids. Loving your partner.

But it could be different. Get help. Now.

Organizations: Montreal Massacre, Amherst church

Geographic location: Montreal

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