Thursday, December 6, was the 23rd anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, an act of terrorism perpetrated by a Canadian anti-feminist at École Polytechnique, an engineering school.
He ordered the 60 male and female students to separate by gender, forcing the men by gunpoint to leave the classroom. Only nine students remained, all female, all helplessly huddled together.
One of the nine women, Nathalie Provost, an engineering student, replied “we’re not feminist.” Bravely, she attempted to reason with Lépine, trying desperately to save herself and her fellow colleagues. We’re “just women studying engineering”, she replied, “not necessarily feminists ready to march on the streets to shout we are against men”.
Lépine shot all nine women anyway, six dying where they stood. He continued his rampage against women as he walked through the college halls, killing an additional 5 women and injuring several others before turning the gun on himself.
Kathleen Pye at Fem 2.0 commemorates the day by explaining why feminism still matters:
Sure, we’ve made improvements, but there is still much to be done, particularly in light of the following facts:
- A woman is killed by an intimate partner every six days.
- Each year half a million Canadian women have reported an incident of sexual assault. It has been suggested that this accounts for only 10% of actual sexual assaults in the country, annually.
- New Brunswick, the province that I currently call home, has the worst rates of sexual assault in the country. Fredericton, New Brunswick, the city with the third highest rates (and where I reside), has, in response, considered constructing female-only parking spots closer to doorways and lit entrances.
- Nearly 600 Aboriginal women have gone missing or have been murdered as of 2010, causing the United Nations and Amnesty International to call for governmental action.
And is it any wonder, with sites like this one, that the violence goes on?
In case you didn’t click all the links, that last one is to a fansite for Marc Lépine, the terrorist responsible for the Montreal Massacre.
I’m going to go ahead and say we still need feminism.