National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women

Remembering December 6 in 2020

In 1989, fourteen young women were targeted and killed because of their gender in a mass shooting at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal. This hate crime led Parliament to designate December 6 as The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women. Gender-based violence remains normalized, amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, and exemplified in 2020’s tragic mass shooting, which took the lives of loved ones, including an Acadia graduate, Constable Heidi Stevenson.

On December 6, we remember each of these women: Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte, and Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz.

Gender-based violence continues to be a reality for too many people. The statistics are stark. One in three women worldwide experience physical or sexual violence. Emerging data show that all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, have intensified since the outbreak of COVID-19, a phenomenon the United Nations has termed the Shadow Pandemic. In Canada, higher rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people remain part of the damaging systemic effects of colonialism.

The tragedy that occurred at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal feels especially close this year as we mourn the lives of the twenty-two Nova Scotians who died this April in Canada’s worst mass killing. While much remains unknown about this tragic event, gender-based violence appears to have played a role.

On December 6, we recommit our efforts to ending gender-based violence. While COVID-19 public health measures mean that we cannot commemorate the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women as we normally would, there are a number of ways that we can still come together.

Candlelight Vigil at Home
On December 6th at 6:00 pm we ask you to join us from your home for a candlelight vigil. Together we will stand for ten minutes outside our homes honouring those who have experienced gender-based violence with our light.

Manning Memorial Chapel
Acadia’s Manning Memorial Chapel will be holding its virtual Sunday service on December 6th at 7:00 pm. The service will focus on action to end violence against women and is open to all.

Wear a White Ribbon
The White Ribbon campaign asks men to wear white ribbons as a sign of their pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls.

Place a White Rose
The rose is the symbol of December 6th. You can place a rose as a sign of remembrance.

Commemorating and Sharing on Social Media
Over the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (November 25-December 10), Acadia’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program will be using its social media platforms, including Twitter and Instagram, to share information about gender-based violence. We encourage you to share with us by using the hashtags #16days, #orangetheworld, and #AcadiaDec6.

If you have been impacted by violence and need support, there are resources both at Acadia and in the greater community available to you.

  • Acadia’s Counselling Centre offers free and confidential services for all Acadia students and is here to support your mental health needs.
  • If you have been impacted by sexualized violence, Acadia’s Sexualized Violence Response and Education Coordinator offers confidential support and advice and can be reached at:
  • The Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, located in Halifax, is a feminist organization working to eliminate sexual assault/abuse, and to change the current socio-political culture that fosters sexism, social injustice and other forms of oppression.
  • Chrysalis House is a local, non-profit grassroots organization that provides shelter, support, counselling, advocacy, and outreach for abused women and their children in Kings, Annapolis, and West Hants counties. You can call their 24 Hour Help Line at 902-679-1922 or toll-free at 1-800-264-8682
  • First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line: If you are feeling sad or distressed and want to talk, call 1-855-242-3310. Service is available in Cree, Ojibway, Inuktitut, English and French.
  • NS Mental Health Crisis Line is a toll free, 24/7 service delivered by the Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team (MHMCT). This provincial service provides crisis intervention for children, youth, and adults experiencing a mental health crisis or mental distress. Dial 1.888.429.8167

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