Fourteen women who were gunned down at a school in Montreal in 1989 have not been forgotten.
Dec. 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women and about 20 faculty and students at UOIT gathered for a ceremony inside the atrium at the Automotive Centre of Excellence Thursday.
The ceremony happens Dec. 6 because it’s the anniversary when female engineering students were murdered at L’Ecole Polytechnique by Marc Lepine, who fired on 28 people, killed 14, and then took his own life.
At the start of the ceremony Jenieshia Jeychandrakanthan, co-chair of UOIT’s Women in Engineering Sub-Society, reminded the audience what happened 29 years ago. She added women face physical, verbal and sexual abuse on a daily basis.
Jeychandrakanthan noted some women can’t succeed in male-dominated programs like engineering and added it needs to come to an end.
The 30-minute ceremony included comments from Sara Sharifi, vice-president internal of the UOIT graduate student council.
She said every human being should have equal rights in society.
“We should understand that violence against women should never be tolerated and it needs to stop at all wills,” added Sharifi.
She added 67 per cent of Canadians know a woman who has experienced physical or sexual abuse and there are more than 6,000 females and children who sleep in shelters on any given night because their homes are not safe.
Dr. Shaghayegh Bagheri, professor of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at UOIT, delivered a message of encouragement for women.
“I think we need to put this all past us in order to help the female students to find their strength and their capabilities to help them pursue their dreams,” she said.
At the end of the speeches, the audience was asked to stand up as 14 candles were lit in memory of the women who lost their lives. Eight female students were asked to light the candles one by one.
The ceremony ended with a moment of silence.