The University of Regina (U of R) held a vigil to remember the victims of a school shooting 27 years ago in Montreal.
On Dec. 6, 1989, a lone gunman entered the École Polytechnique school, targeting women. He shot and killed 14 women, and injured dozens more people.
At the U of R, supporters said the day is about highlighting abuse against women that’s still very prevalent today but also about remembering the lives lost.
“I think everyone needs to know, we are all operating in a social body where violence against women is absolutely normal and we’re often blaming victims, and so everyone needs to be participating,” Jill Arnott, U of R Women’s Centre executive director ,said.
According to Statistics Canada, in 2011, Saskatchewan had the highest rates of violent crimes against women. The report also said that statistic is more than double the national rate.
Arnott cites the cases regarding missing and murdered indigenous women as being a prime example of current violence against women.
“We have a fairly terrible epidemic of indigenous women being taken and murdered and that’s a daily occurrence for a lot of families,” Arnott said.
She said there is still much more that needs to be done but said there has been progress throughout the years.
“In some ways I think there is progress because we are actually talking about it and we’re not just pretending that it’s not there,” she said.
In addition to women, a growing number of men are also speaking out about violence.
Engineer and former UofR engineering student Jacob Bayda said men can be great advocates for women.
“In my life, it’s just how I was raised and the men around me has always treated women as an equal,” he said.
“I think it’s really important for men to get behind this issue as well.”