'We have to keep reminding people:' Montreal Massacre remembered in Charlottetown
'I think there's a tendency for people to think that things maybe are better'
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.
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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.
"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.
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."
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.
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With files from Jean-Luc Bouchard