On December 6, 1989, a 25 year-old man named Marc Lepine walked into the University of Montreal’s School of Engineering Building with semi-automatic rifle.  He began a shooting spree during which he murdered fourteen women and injured thirteen others: nine women and four men.  Lepine believed it was because of women students that he was not accepted to the engineering school. Before killing himself, he left an explanatory letter behind which contained a tirade against feminists as well as a list of nineteen prominent women whom he particularly despised.

The fourteen women who were murdered in the massacre were: Anne-Marie Edward, Anne-Marie Lemay, Annie St. Arneault, Annie Turcotte, Barbara Daigneault, Barbara Maria Klueznick, Genevieve Bergeron, Helen Colgan, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganiere, Maryse Leclair, Michele Richard, Natalie Croteau and Sonia Pelletier.

These women became symbols, tragic representatives, of the injustice against women.  Women’s groups across the country organized vigils, marches and memorials.  There was an increase in support for educational programs and resources to reduce violence against women.  Both federal and provincial governments made commitments to end violence against women.  In 1991, the Canadian government proclaimed December 6th National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.  In 1993, an organization calling itself the Dec. 6 Coalition set up a revolving fund for women leaving violent situations to establish themselves and their children in a safer, more secure environment.  Also in 1993 a campaign called Zero Tolerance was launched offering men the opportunity to show solidarity with women against violence against women.  As a direct result of the massacre, several mothers of the victims began groups to restrict gun laws and promote awareness of the continued violence against women.

For more information, see “The Montreal Massacre” edited by Louise Malette & Marie Chalouh, Gynergy Books/Ragweed Pr; ISBN: 0921881142 or visit the Men for Change website athttp://www.chebucto.ns.ca/CommunitySupport/Men4Change/