Because of the pandemic and public health concerns, 2020 will be the first time in many years that there will not be a vigil or other public event in Trail to commemorate Dec. 6 as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
Read more: VAWIR handout; responding to domestic abuse
Read more: Calling attention to violence against women
Instead, on Dec. 6, the Trail Area Anti-Violence Committee is asking residents to light a candle and take a few minutes to remember the 14 women murdered 31 years ago in Montreal as well as the thousands of others who, each year in Canada, are stalked, raped, beaten, abused and murdered simply because they are women.
To help mark the anniversary, the City of Trail will, on Sunday evening, again turn the lights on the Victoria Street Bridge to red.
On Monday, Dec. 7, vases of red roses will be placed in several Trail locations in remembrance.
Many in the Trail community will still remember Dec. 6, 1989 and the shocking reports of a man entering the École Polytechnique School of Engineering, systematically murdering 14 young women, and injuring several others.
This act of targeted violence shook the country and led Parliament in 1991 to designate Dec. 6 as The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women.
Almost three decades later, statistics and headlines continue to remind citizens that abuse of women is still an unresolved, serious issue throughout Canadian society, with an average of one woman killed every six days in our country.
Every night in Canada over 3,491 women and their 2,724 children are in shelters trying to escape violence.
Hundreds are turned away because there is no room.
The situation has become much worse during the pandemic.
For these reasons and more, it is important that along with remembrance, time is also taken to consider what each person and community can do to help create a culture of respect so as to end abuse of women in all forms.
Action can include something as simple as refusing to laugh at sexist jokes, making sure someone gets home safely, or learning about and supporting local anti-violence services.
For more information about programs and resources available to women threatened by violence and abuse contact the Trail FAIR office at 250.364.2326.
The Trail Interagency VAWIR (Violence Against Women in Relationships) committee, is made up of representatives from several local organizations working with women and children including; the Ministry of Children and Family Development, RCMP Victim Services and other community-based victim services, Mental Health and Substance Use, Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, RCMP officers, adult probation, Trail FAIR’s Stopping the Violence Counselling, and WINS Transition House.