École Polytechnique Massacre and Violence Against Women

Trigger Warning: This post deals with the École Polytechnique massacre and violence against women.

On December 6, 1989, a lone gunman murdered 14 women at École Polytechnique, an engineering school in Montréal, Québec, Canada. He began his attack by entering a classroom and separating the men from the women. He said to the women, “You’re women, you’re going to be engineers. You’re all a bunch of feminists. I hate feminists.” He then opened fire on the nine women from left to right, killing six and injuring three. He then moved on to other areas of the school, targetting women specifically. He shot 28 people in total, but all those who died (14) were women.

Here is a CBC Archive of a 1989 news report of the massacre.

December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada. In addition to the victims of the École Polytechnique massacre, we should also remember that some women are at a much higher risk of violence than others. One group is Aboriginal women:

Sometimes women forget that as Aboriginal women, we are five times more likely to die of violence than any other race of women in Canada, and that women have been going missing and being murdered in our communities by the thousands, for hundreds of years.

Another group is transgender and transsexual women, who are the majority of those murdered by anti-trans violence.

2 thoughts on “École Polytechnique Massacre and Violence Against Women

  1. Carla Schroder

    Here is a copy of a great comment from another article that I think is pertinent to this and makes an important point:

    “The new STFU meme on this issue is drawing a line between criminal behaviors and disrespectful rude behavior. That is a deliberate misstatement of the issues that seeks to legimitize hostile behaviors that don’t rise to the level of criminal acts. It’s all part of the same attitudes of disrespect and treating women like garbage. None of that is OK.

    “It’s also worth pointing out that Valerie Aurora’s writings, and draft conference policy, are inclusive and promote civil, respectful behavior towards everyone. The emphasis is on how women are treated, because regardless of what the cavepeople insist, women do get treated differently and worse. There is a loud, vocal segment that thinks they’re too special for manners, and especially towards dumb old girls. It’s time to grow up and get beyond civility and respect being controversial in any way.”

    Remember Kathy Sierra? Years of “jokes” and verbal abuse were acceptable, but by gosh when those bad anonymous Internet peoples crossed the line to death threats then that was not OK. We see this replayed over and over and over. Everyday abuse is OK. But by gosh killing and attacking folks, well that’s probably not! I call horsecrap. It all springs from the same root; the only difference is scale.

    Why aren’t crimes against women classified as hate crimes? “Hate crimes (also known as bias-motivated crimes) occur when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group, usually defined by racial group, religion, sexual orientation, disability, class, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity …” Seems like a big duh to me.

  2. Jen

    It annoys me that the Wiki aritcle on the murders cites ‘masculist and anti-feminist views’ that feminism incites violence. Does that have any place on this article about this tragedy? can we do something about that? I’m not very well versed on wiki’s rules.

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