A delegation from the South Peace Community Resources Society (SPCRS) attended City Hall this afternoon to receive a proclamation from Mayor Mike Bernier declaring Dec. 6 as the “National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women” in Dawson Creek. The day marks the anniversary of the shooting massacre at Ecole Polytehnique in Montreal that left 14 women dead and another 14 people injured on Dec. 6, 1989. The gunman, Marc Lepine, was thought to have targeted women at the school specifically because of a hatred he held for feminism. The event has become a symbol of the violence and inequality that is still very much pervasive in our society.
“That’s really what it is about. Yes, it is in commemoration of the women who died, but is also looking at the fact that it is a graphically horrific example in our own country of the way certain attitudes, prejudices – and all of those thoughts and comments that we don’t necessarily think about – can all add up to violence against women,”said Karen Mitton, coordinator for the Community-Based Victim Services program run by SPCRS.
She said it is the inaction of our society to challenge those attitudes and prejudices that can lead to the type of violence against women witnessed at the Montreal university that day.
Darren Johnson, personnel and practice coordinator for SPCRS, added that it is important for the public to continue to advocate to government the need to have more counselling services for men who recognize they have violent tendencies and what to seek help.
Mayor Bernier said it is also incumbent on us as citizens to be aware and diligent when our fellow citizens may be victims of gender violence.
SPCRS will be hosting an event tonight at Unchagah Hall starting at 5:30 that will include a filming of the movie, “Polytechnique,” an award-winning film by director Denis Villeneuve that examines the events known as the “Montreal Massacre” through the eyes of two witnesses. The screening will be followed by a brief walk around the property in a show of solidarity. The public is encouraged to come out and show their support, though the film is rated 14A, so viewer discretion is advised.
In the interest of full disclosure, Mile 0 City notes its reporter, Matthew Bains, is a board member with the South Peace Community Resources Society.