I remember being sick to my stomach when I heard on the news 25 years ago that a man went into the École Polytechnique campus in Montreal, separated the women from the men, and gunned down the women. He hated women, and blamed them for all the failures in his own life. This event became a symbol of the violence that women and girls suffer on the streets and in their homes, a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada.
But this isn’t just a day to remember the suffering, the suffering from violence that is experienced by women and girls around the world. It is a day to remember what can change.
Until 1983, when I was 18 years old, it was legal in Canada for a man to rape his wife. In the mid-1970s in Canada, when I was 10 years old, there were no shelters for abused women. Even more women suffered in silence behind closed doors, and twice as many women were murdered back then than today. But not enough has changed.
There are over a thousand murdered and missing First Nations, Inuit and Metis women in Canada. Women and girls continue to suffer and die in gender-based violence around the world. So we remember the suffering, and we remember all the people around the world who have worked and continue to work for change,
so that we may one day all live in peace and equality.