PEI

P.E.I. memorial for murdered women held in Charlottetown

Gone for 26 years, but not forgotten. A memorial today in Charlottetown for the 14 women gunned down in 1989 at École Polytechnique in Montreal — murdered because they were women.

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women ceremonies held in Charlottetown

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women memorial in Charlottetown. 1:15

Gone for 26 years, but not forgotten. A memorial today in Charlottetown for the 14 women gunned down in 1989 at École Polytechnique in Montreal — murdered because they were women.

"In the time since then, 10 women have been murdered on Prince Edward Island. Men they knew or loved or cherished — convicted or were implicated in their deaths," said Kelly Robinson, Chair of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women on P.E.I.

We must fight to make systemic changes, so wrongs can be righted.— Sharon O'Brien, Mi'kmaq Family Resource Centre 

The group hosted Friday's National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women at Charlottetown's Confederation Centre of the Arts.  

"We must act in memory of all murdered women in Canada and all victims of family violence to prevent violence and to provide proper supports to victims," said Robinson. 

Speakers read personal stories from Island women who have survived violence and the front-line workers who cared for them. 

"I thought I could handle my situation safely and make it go away," read a statement from an anonymous client of Anderson House, a shelter for victims of family violence.

Mi'kmaq Family Resource Centre director Sharon O'Brien called for changes. (CBC)

"I was really embarrassed and ashamed I got myself into this mess. The circle of safety and support really took the sting off it." 

Sharon O'Brien, the director of the Mi'kmaq Family Resource Centre on the Lennox Island reserve, said she's proud that Canada is looking at a national inquiry for missing and murdered women, but also called for changes to some of the gaps in service for aboriginal women enduring family violence.

"We owe it to the families who've lost loved ones and to our children and future generations to achieve safe and secure communities for our children to learn, grow, and thrive," said O'Brien.

O'Brien noted aboriginal women are much more likely to be murdered than non-aboriginal women. 

"We as aboriginal people have a responsibility as well," she added. "We must fight to make systemic changes, so wrongs can be righted."