Twenty-four years ago today, December 6, 1989, Marc Lépine murdered fourteen women and wounded ten women. He entered École Polytechnique de Montréal with a Ruger Mini-14 and a hunting knife for the purpose of “fighting feminism” by murdering the female engineering students there. He began his violence in a classroom where first he ordered the students to separate into men and women. He asked the female students in French if they knew why he had singled them out.
One student answered no, and Lépine explained, “I am fighting feminism.” Nathalie Provost attempted to defuse the situation: “Look, we are just women studying engineering, not necessarily feminists ready to march on the streets to shout we are against men, just students intent on leading a normal life.” Lépine replied, “You’re women, you’re going to be engineers. You’re all a bunch of feminists. I hate feminists.” He opened fire and killed six women. Lépine continued through the school, committing more murders and assaults (gun and knife). Finally he killed himself. Contained in his suicide note was a hit list of nineteen more Quebec women whom he considered feminist figures.
In response to the École Polytechnique massacre, Canada designated December 6 National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. On this day we also remember all violence against women: we call attention to partner abuse and violence against women which is especially overlooked, like the violence so many Aboriginal women face.
24 years ago today, fourteen women died because they were women.