Twenty years ago on December 6, a 25 year-old man named Marc Lepine walked into the University of Montreal’s School of Engineering Building with a semi-automatic rifle.
Once inside the school, Lepine began a shooting spree during which he murdered 14 women and injured 13 others: nine women and four men. Lepine believed it was because of female students that he was not accepted to the engineering school. Before killing himself, he left an explanatory letter that contained a tirade against feminists as well as a list of 19 prominent women whom he particularly despised.
The 14 women who died 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 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 6 National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.