On a dreary early December morning, a group of about a dozen people gathered at Campbell River’s Spirit Square to recognize National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
The snow, which was turning to freezing slush, did little to deter those assembled.
Roses were handed out, and the pictures of 14 young women murdered at Polytechnique Montreal 32 years ago (Dec. 6 1989) were carefully placed around the stage.
Speakers gave moving speeches.
Karen Halady was a 19-year-old living in Montreal at the time, and vividly recalled the horror felt by women in the city when the attack occurred.
“I still can’t believe this happened,” she said. “I still can’t believe that gender based violence is a thing.”
Fay Blaney with the Aboriginal Women’s Action Network spoke passionately about the need for change, and demanded more research into the roots of violence against women.
The event was organized by Diane Palmer, public relations coordinator for the Campbell River and North Island Transition Society. It coincided with the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which began Nov. 25.
She noted the women memorialized were murdered because of their gender over 30 years ago, and today there’s really not that much from preventing it happening again.
“Gender-based violence is a huge issue to this day, so we want to create a tangible action each day for the 16 days and hope people will be mindful of continuing beyond the 16 days,” she said, before beseeching local women who are suffering from domestic violence to take advantage of local services.
“I think if they should know how to reach out to us and access the services that are here, and know they’re not alone.”
For more information about the 16 Days of Activism, check out the Campbell River and North Island Transition Society Facebook page or website at www.annelmorehouse.ca