The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women is Dec. 6. (Black Press file)

The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women is Dec. 6. (Black Press file)

Comox Valley marks 31st anniversary of Montreal Massacre

December 6 is a day most Canadians will never forget.

It was 31 years ago on this day that 14 young women were gunned down simply because they were women. In honour of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, Comox Valley Transition Society (CVTS) and the Comox Valley Art Gallery (CVAG) will partner once again to remember those young women and the countless others who have experienced violence, lost their lives or gone missing across this country.

Although COVID-related restrictions make it impossible to gather together, community members are encouraged to take a moment today to reflect on the meaning of the day. A number of brief video statements will be shared on the CVTS and CVAG Facebook pages.

“The 1989 Montreal Massacre at L’Ecole Polytechnique shocked our nation,” says Heather Ney, CVTS executive director. “But we can’t help but reflect on the difficult and troubling truth that countless women, girls and LGBTQ2 individuals continue to experience violence in their daily lives, and the situation is exponentially worse for Indigenous women and girls.”

In Canada, a woman is killed by her intimate partner approximately every six days, and Indigenous women are killed at six times the rate of non-Indigenous women. Statistics show that 67 per cent of Canadians know a woman who has experienced physical or sexual abuse, and more than 6,000 women and children sleep in shelters on any given night because it isn’t safe at home. Here in the Comox Valley, Lilli House has sheltered 191 women and 68 children who were fleeing violence so far this year, while many more have received services and support through other CVTS programs.

“We chose not to let the pandemic stop us from acknowledging this important day,” says CVAG Executive Director Glen Sanford. “We hope people will join us in remembering those who have been taken from us, honouring the strength and resilience of women and girls, and committing to continue to work towards a world free of gender-based violence.”