Victims of violence remembered

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Local ceremony marks National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

TRURO - A group of local citizens and supporters of women's groups gathered in the rain at Victoria Square on Friday in honour of 14 young women who were murdered in 1989 at École Polytechnique de Montreal.

Catherine Martin leads a group of people at Victoria Square during the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women ceremony on Friday.

Dec. 6 marks the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women in Canada.

Margaret Mauger, executive director and counseling therapist of the Colchester Sexual Assault Centre in Truro, led the gathering with a sentimental explanation of how violence affects everyone.

"From my personal and professional life I know first hand the violence that exists in our world," she told a group of about 30 men and women who attended the event and shared a moment of silence and prayed for the young women who lost their lives.

"Half of all Canadian women have experienced physical or sexual violence.

"Together we can take action and address the epidemic of violence that exists in our world. Individuality and collectively we can prevent and eliminate all forms of violence in our lives, schools, workplaces, communities and world."

The ceremony was concluded with a powerful speech by Millbrook filmmaker Catherine Martin, who performed a drumming ceremony. Her drumming was symbolic of the heartbeat of mother Earth, she said.

The heart beat a universal language we all know, which can be felt and help us heal a bit from the violations in this world, she said. She explained how important it is to gather on this day, even if it is only with a few people.

"We need a real effort by politicians, government, police and us most importantly, because if we don't continue to do this we will forget," she said.

Trinkie Coffin, who attended the Truro event, lived in Montreal at the time of the massacre and her daughter played basketball with of one of the victim's cousins. Her daughter was about the same age as the young women.

"It was quite close to home and our daughter and so it was quite close to home for us," said Coffin.

Truro resident Thomas Marshall lived in Ottawa in 1989. He attends the event every year because he doesn't believe in violence against women, children or anybody.

"It was something of that nature and it was not only a problem the community of Montreal had to deal with, it became a national crisis because innocent women should not be preyed upon by anybody or children or anyone," he said. "It put a black cloud across the country.

"I just believe women should be able to safely walk from wherever they want, live safely in their homes, be able to go to educational places without worrying about somebody coming in as they did in '89 ... It's just my reason," said Marshall.

Supporters from the women's outreach workers from transition house and the women's resource center all came out in support.

A march was also scheduled for Friday night in support of the cause.

Premier Stephen McNeil also announced Friday the government will invest $2 million a year for three years to develop and support a multi-year strategy that will provide services directly to victims and focus on prevention.

"An effective way to address violence against women is to take action together," said McNeil. "Government, community and policing partners, and individuals must unite to build stronger communities that are free from violence against women."


Organizations: Colchester Sexual Assault Centre

Geographic location: Truro, Canada, Montreal

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