Violence against women an ongoing problem, from Polytechnique to the van attack

by | Nov 28, 2018 | Headlines, News

Michelle Rowe-Jardine
News Editor

There were 128 Canadian women who were murdered by men so far this year.

Among the victims was Humber Spa Management student Alicia Marie Lewandowski on March 5. The 25-year-old Mississauga woman was to have graduated earlier this year.

Lewandowski was found shot to death in the parking lot near her Rathburn Road East home near Dixie Road in Mississauga. A 39-year-old Toronto man described as her boyfriend was charged with first-degree murder and remains before the courts.

Humber’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women on Dec. 6 will raise awareness of gender-based violence in Canada and around the world.

It will be part of the national day of mourning for the 14 women killed in 1989 at the École Polytechnique in Montreal.

Jodie Glean, Manager at the Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Diversity, said it’s important to remember the Montreal tragedy because this issue is still prevalent today.

“Whether it’s 1989 or 2018 … gender-based violence impedes and impacts our daily experiences,” Glean said. “It impacts the ways within which women live and survive in Toronto and in Canada.”

Roses will be distributed during the Dec. 6 remembrance at the IGNITE Student Centre at North campus starting at 11:45 a.m.

The event will feature all-female drumming group Raging Asian Women Taiko Drummers and spoken word poet Paulina O’Keefe.

“We want to engage in this topic … through our artistry and creativity in not only remembering — because remembering is important — but then it’s about acknowledging within oneself, ‘what is my commitment to action?’” Glean said.

The Montreal Massacre in 1989 claimed the lives of 14 women and injured 13 others. The killer specifically targeted women at the school because he claimed feminists ruined his life.

Killed were Genevieve Bergeron, Helene Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Havierncik, Maryse Laganiere, Maryse LeClair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michele Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte and Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz.

Their murders were committed by a stranger armed with an automatic weapon, but female victims are most often targeted by intimate partners.

“It’s important to remember that gender-based violence may not always look like the tragedy that occurred in 1989. Gender-based violence looks differently within our private homes, within our personal relationships, as well as in work and learning environments,” Glean said.

In Toronto, 10 people were killed — eight of them women — by a man who ran them down with a van.

The attacker allegedly posted a Facebook message shortly before the Yonge Street incident citing the attack was part of an “incel rebellion.” Incels are men who label themselves involuntary celibates because women won’t have sex with them.

Statistics cited by the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability show while intimate partner homicides have been dropping between 1975 and 2015, three in 10 murder victims in

Canada are women, according to 2015 data, the most recent available.

The rate women were killed by an intimate partner, according to those 2015 numbers, was 45 per million compared to nine men per million.

“We’re really remembering all women who are impacted by gender-based violence,” Glean said.

“Including the 14 women who died in Montreal, as well as our murdered and missing Indigenous women, women from vulnerable communities including our racialized women, Black women, women with disabilities…,” Glean said.