December 6, 2019, marks the 30th anniversary of the massacre at Montreal's École Polytechnique. The lone gunman (whose name we will not publish) separated students by gender and killed 14 women studying engineering in an attack motived by misogyny and anti-feminism. Commemorations of the tragedy are an occasion to not just reflect on the lives lost but to call out gender-based violence and the insidious perpetuation of misogyny in our culture. 

December 6 is now the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada and 30 years after the Polytechnique shooting, people across the country are taking to social media to share important feminist messages and calls to action.

Below, we've compiled some of the most poignant statements posted to Twitter. 

These statements are vital in a public discourse dominated, it seems, by both subtle and outright expressions of sexism and transphobia.

But, above all, it is incumbent upon men to recognize their own biases and to denounce misogyny where they see it.

Indeed, as the government of Canada writes on its webpage devoted to statistics on gender-based violence (GBV), "if you look closely, you will see the roots of GBV all around you — in the jokes that demean members of the LGBTQI2+ community, in the media messages that objectify women, and in the rigid gender norms imposed on young children.

"In Canada, GBV disproportionately impacts women and girls, as well as other diverse populations such as Indigenous Peoples, LGBTQI2+ and gender non-binary individuals, those living in northern, rural, and remote communities, people with disabilities, newcomers, children and youth, and seniors."

For more information on gender-based violence, refer to the government of Canada page here.


On Twitter, many Canadians are making the good point that misogyny persists not just in violence, but in subtle movements and remarks.

We need to name these instances in order to end them.

Many more people are sharing their memories of December 6, 1989, and reaffirming their feminism.

Even in Canada, women, trans and non-binary people continue to face social barriers.

The sentiments shared on Twitter are particularly striking given the fact that, as one user points out, "to this day, people are still debating whether or not violence against women is an issue."

This Twitter user points out, importantly, that many people not in positions of authority are often unable to speak out against harmful language or actions.

Action against gender-based violence also includes voting for politicians who recognize and have a plan to address it.

"It can't just be women doing this work as it so often is."

As another use points out, the undue "rage people have for [...] Swedish teenager" Greta Thunberg is a contemporary example of widespread misogynistic sentiment directed at a woman with knowledge.


Translation: 30 years ago, on December 6, 1989, our lives were changed forever when 14 young women lost [their lives] in the anti-feminist Polytechnique attack. Let us always keep them in our hearts, and let us make sure that we put an end to violence against girls and women.


On the 30th anniversary of the massacre, universities across Canada will send beams of light into the sky

In Montreal, the Governor General and several Quebec politicians will attend a ceremony atop Mount Royal.

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