That tragic day wasn't random. It was about something much bigger.
On Dec. 6, 1989, a man grabbed his rifle and walked into a Montreal university. He applied to the school twice but was denied for lacking the required courses. He blamed affirmative action and feminists for wanting "male" jobs like engineering.
He premeditatively targeted an engineering class. In a cowardly move, he used his gun to order the male students to leave and the women to stay.
It was very rare for women to major in engineering in 1989. They had bright futures and were leading the way for women in science. The killer objectified them as "feminists who were ruining his life."
He screamed "I hate feminists" ... then shot all the women in the classroom. He continued his rampage through the school. The Montreal Massacre isn't just some random act of violence — it's a symptom of a larger societal acceptance of violence against women. The 14 murdered women were victims of a hate crime.
The "White Ribbon Campaign" is a movement formed by men in Canada in response to the Montreal Massacre. The focus of the campaign is to encourage boys and men to speak up against male violence towards women. There are now over 55 countries involved in the campaign, which peaks annually between Nov. 25 and Dec. 10.
Dec. 6 is Canada's National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. The YWCA's original "Rose Campaign" was initially launched to commemorate the 14 murdered women. Now, the campaign also works year-round to raise awareness of and prevent violence against women.
The killer didn't deter women or men from being feminists. In fact, prominent Canadian feminists such as Laurie Petrou and Naomi Klein cite the misogynist massacre as the reason they got involved in the women's rights movement.
It might seem trivial to praise Beyoncé or Emma Watson or Taylor Swift for proclaiming to be feminists,
Would we rather have people become feminists because we stood by and let this mindset result in the deaths of women and men,
A dramatic depiction of the Montreal Massacre in a clip from the film "Polytechnique" highlights why we must always remember the victims and continue to raise awareness of and prevent violence against women.
Warning: no graphic images, but the content is disturbing.
Now École Polytechnique — the school where the massacre took place — holds science camps for girls from disadvantaged communities through a nonprofit program called "Week of the White Rose." Currently, 18% of engineers in Canada are female. The sciences need to be more accepting of women in their field so young girls see science as an option for their future. Here's the inspiring story:
Everybody has the right to live free of violence and fear.