On this December 6, I want to remember and honor the 14 women who were killed at Polytechnique solely because they were women. I remember where I was when I heard about this tragedy–it was two days later, but I was still scared. Scared that women students were singled out by a male classmate and killed only based on their gender. I often wondered if we paid more attention to them because they were college students? If we paid more attention to them based on their education, class, and race privilege. But, these are not always polite questions to ask. It is important to acknowledge that the act was heinous.
We had the bookmarks in the US where I went to university, and the WMST-L or other listservs would remember Dec 6. I remember thinking that this one event caused a concentrated focus on violence against women, which we need to have tough conversations about as we attempt to curb violence. However, I know that I have also thought that women were killed before Dec 6 and continue to be killed solely because they are targeted as women. We need to use Dec 6 as a day of reflection and continued energy to make a difference. We can’t bring those 14 women back, but their legacy is important and what we do with it.
Living in Canada, I think of the gross similarities between the Missing Women on the Highway of Tears and the DTES and the Missing Women in Ciudad Juarez. So, this Dec 6 I want to reflect about what we’ve done and what we can continue to do to educate people about the reality of violence against women in our communities and across the globe. As I have repeatedly said, we have more work to do.