MEDICINE HAT, AB – Ceremonies took place across the country to remember the victims of the Montreal Massacre.
In 1989, a lone gunman entered l'École Polytechnique de Montréal and deliberately targeted female students. He shot and killed 14 women, while injuring 14 others.
Here at home, dozens gathered at the Medicine Hat College to honour the victims at an event hosted by the Medicine Hat Women’s Shelter Society (MHWSS).
Attendees placed orange flowers next to the names of the victims, with the colour orange symbolizing a movement to end violence against women.
Women’s shelter staff also led the group in holding a minute of silence for the victims.
MHWSS executive director Natasha Carvalho said the event not only commemorates those who lost their lives due to gender-based violence, but it served as an opportunity to discuss violence that women continue to face.
“Our doors are open and women are accessing our services. There is still a power struggle, and there is still violence against women,” said Carvalho.
Carvalho added that the anniversary holds a special place in her heart – she was attending school in Montreal when the attack occurred.
“I was in the women’s studies program at Concordia University at the time,” said Carvalho, “For me every year when that time comes around I remember that happened, and [violence] still happens.”
Carvalho said the shelter provides services for both men and women facing all types of violence, including emotional and financial abuse. She said she is happy to see an increase in their services being used, because that means more people facing violence are seeking help.
The Montreal Massacre was the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history. It not only led to stricter gun control laws in the country, but it sparked national discussion on how to address gender-based violence.
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