I awoke this morning, as usual, to CBC Daybreak. I lay in bed for a half hour, patiently listening to items about the three children murdered in Drummondville, ex-PQ leader André Boisclair refusing a fat-cat position, the possibility of French-language testing in CEGEP, etc.
30 minutes and nothing about the massacre that happened at École Polytechnique de Montréal 23 years ago.
It may not seem like such a big deal. After all, it happened over 20 years ago, we should move on, etc. But when I opened Twitter and read about Katy Perry and Carla Bruni dismissing feminism, my heart sunk through the floor.
I was 17 when the Montréal Massacre occurred. I was halfway through my last year of high school and my locker was full of brochures for CEGEPs and universities. Like many other girls my age, I was taking those last few steps through childhood and adolescence with trepidation and excitement. As we descended the staircase towards the locker room, there began to be whispers about a shooting and by the time we reached the safety of our homes, the news programs were spilling over with details and images.
Still chilled from the weather outside, I watched the coverage and for the first time truly realized that the world was not a friendly place. That there were people capable of doing terrible things because they believed that women are undeserving of the same rights as men. That I was undeserving. Fourteen souls – barely older than I – cut down because, like me, they wanted to pursue their goals.
This morning, it feels like, as a society, we have slipped a little. The gun registry has been destroyed. An unstable woman – who has been displaying signs of instability for years – killed her three children. And commemoration of a massacre that shook a nation has moved down a few notches in importance.
These words may not add much to any debate. But I had to say something. The only way to prevent our society from getting complacent about violence against women is to speak up, often and with a strong voice. To drown out the Katy Perrys and Carla Brunis of the world.
For whatever it’s worth, this is my voice and this is what I had to say. Let’s keep the conversation going.