University of Windsor Holds Vigil to Remember the Women Killed in the Ecole Polytechnique Massacre

Members of the University of Windsor community gathered last night to commemorate the 14 women who were senselessly killed in the Ecole Polytechnique massacre.

Red roses were distributed to the crowd before candles were lit at the campus’s Memorial of Hope sculpture honouring the slain women.

The Womxn’s Centre at the University of Windsor hosts the annual vigil. Similar ceremonies have been held across Canada since the Parliament of Canada created in 1991 the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women to honour the women killed on December 6th 1989 in Montreal.

Melissa Ammonite, Assistant Internal Coordinator at the Womxn’s Centre, says it’s important to note that these “were women who wanted to go into a male-dominated field and were solely murdered for that reason.”

Ammonite says the event raises awareness of violence against women “and especially on campus you want to raise a culture that women are here and they deserve to be respected in any field of study that they are going into. Especially for women in engineering, this day is very important to them. It is to start a conversation for people to talk about violence against women in male-dominated fields, but the day is really about remembering the victims.”

Mackenzie Noble, a 3rd year Industrial Engineering student, says the event hits close to home for her. “Personally, I work with males all the time. My friends, study groups are males and this event is important to me because seeing the hatred toward women in engineering really upsets me and I can’t wrap my head around looking around the class and picking out 14 women and thinking due to hatred they could instantly be killed.”

Noble acknowledges treatment of women has improved but still witnesses gender disparity in engineering “depending on the discipline of engineering and also different races and ages. There is a discrepancy between males and females.” In fact, Noble has experienced hatred herself. “When I was entering engineering, I was told I am a female and I couldn’t do it. I pushed past that stereotype and that is what put me into it. But I definitely do still see the divide between male and female.”

Ammonite says telling stories such as Noble’s are crucial because “gender disparity among different disciplines isn’t really discussed often so having students from multiple faculties comes to this event it really raises a conversation about their program and how it impacts them.”

The names of the Ecole Polytechnique victims are:

  • Geneviève Bergeron
  • Hélène Colgan
  • Nathalie Croteau
  • Barbara Daigneault
  • Anne-Marie Edward
  • Maud Haviernick
  • Maryse Laganière
  • Maryse Leclair
  • Anne-Marie Lemay
  • Sonia Pelletier
  • Michèle Richard
  • Annie St-Arneault
  • Annie Turcotte
  • Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz

Lori DuPont, a Windsor woman who was harassed and killed by a male doctor at the same hospital where DuPont was a nurse was also recognized at the ceremony


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