'We have to keep reminding people:' Montreal Massacre remembered in Charlottetown

Islanders gathered Tuesday to remember the victims of the Montreal Massacre 27 years ago and to renew calls for an end to violence against women.

'I think there's a tendency for people to think that things maybe are better'

P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan lights a candle in memory of one of the 14 women killed 27 years ago at École Polytechnique in Montreal. (Jean-Luc Bouchard/Radio-Canada)

Islanders gathered Tuesday to remember the victims of the Montreal Massacre 27 years ago and to renew calls for an end to violence against women.

Dec. 6 is the anniversary of the 1989 massacre at École Polytechnique in Montreal in which 14 female students were gunned down because they were women. 

A rose represents each victim of the 14 women killed in the 1989 massacre in Montreal. (Jean-Luc Bouchard/Radio-Canada)

"Every year at our memorial we have a big crowd," said Mari Basiletti, chair of the P.E.I. Advisory Council on the Status of Women, noting that this year Island men organized a campaign called Man Up, encouraging men to speak out against violence and misogny. 

'We have to keep reminding people'

"I think the word is spreading but every year we have to keep reminding people, because I think there's a tendency for people to think that things maybe are better," when violence against women continues, Basiletti said. 

Eliza Star Child Knockwood sang the the Honour Song in Mi'kmaq. (Jean-Luc Bouchard/Radio-Canada)

P.E.I. statistics show most violent assaults are against women and most people seeking protection orders are women, Basiletti said. 

"So it's very present as we speak today," said Basiletti. "Domestic violence and homicides against women haven't gone down — in fact they've slightly increased." 

P.E.I. musician Kinley Dowling gave an emotional performance of her original song Microphone, about her own sexual assault. (Jean-Luc Bouchard/Radio-Canada )

'Believe survivors'

More awareness and education, more services to help women and their children leave violent situations and improvements in the way the courts deal with domestic violence and sexual assaults are needed, Basiletti said. 

The theme of this year's purple ribbon campaign to prevent violence against women is "believe survivors" said Basiletti. 

The crowd jumped to their feet and sang along in solidarity with Kinley Dowling as she performed Microphone, about her own sexual assault. (Jane-Luc Bouchard/Radio-Canada)

With files from Jean-Luc Bouchard