I was a first-year university student, away from home for the first time at the University of Victoria, the day Marc Lepine massacred fourteen women and injured many others before turning his gun on himself at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal on December 6, 1989.
Before he shot them, he separated the men from the women, specifically targeting the latter. I can only imagine the fear they felt standing there in front of him. Even from far across the country, it was a terrifying, awful day to be a woman at university, and the day of the massacre is seared in my memory forever, along with the hollow feeling in my gut that always comes with it.
The Ecole Polytechnique massacre anniversary has become a day of remembrance in Canada, not only for those women, but for all women who experience violence simply because they are women.
But today, I’d like to remember these specific women, the youngest of them twenty, the eldest just 31, who got up that morning to go to school or to work and never made it home: