Broken: A Global News series on Canada’s ongoing failure to end violence against women

Click to play video: 'Why amplifying women’s voices in the wake of gender-based violence matters'
Why amplifying women’s voices in the wake of gender-based violence matters
Shelley Page was a young reporter when she covered the Montreal Massacre. Decades later, she won a national newspaper award for a piece titled "How I sanitized the feminist outrage over the Montreal Massacre." Ahead of the 30th anniversary, she speaks about the voices still excluded from conversations about violence against women – Nov 17, 2019

“Do you know why you are there?” Marc Lépine asked the women at the beginning of what would become the École Polytechnique massacre. He had separated the women from the men, telling the latter to leave the room.

“No,” one woman replied.

“I am fighting feminism,” he said.

“We are not feminists. I have never fought against men,” the same woman told him.

Lépine began to shoot.

By the end of the day, he had killed 14 women: Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault and Annie Turcotte.

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Several women attend a demonstration in Montreal, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, to highlight violence against women. Fourteen women lost their lives at the hands of a gunman at the École Polytechnique on this day in 1989. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES /Graham Hughes

This Dec. 6 marks 30 years since his attack. Every year, our country mourns, and every year, we agree: “We cannot forget.”

But in the nearly three decades since, women continue to be harassed, assaulted and killed in Canada.

Approaching the anniversary of the attack at École Polytechnique, a group of reporters at Global News reflected on how we must provide better, more consistent and nuanced coverage of any woman, trans or non-binary person who has experienced violence, abuse or harassment if we are to play a role in eradicating it. We set out to create Broken, a news project we believe Canada needs.

This series will address issues that contribute to and exacerbate violence against women:

How much has actually changed since the horrific day Lépine gunned down 14 women? Our series starts by revisiting the past can you tell from newspaper headlines alone which issues of violence women were grappling with in 1989 versus 2019? Broken‘s official launch is Monday, Nov. 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Stories will publish every few days. Every time we publish, we will update this page. Please follow along.

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Violence against women may not have captured much attention during the federal election, but many, including Lise Martin from Women’s Shelters Canada, said it should have and that recognizing that women’s rights matter is no longer enough.

“The situation for women who are living in violence hasn’t changed in the last four years, and it hasn’t changed in decades.”

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