The Sexual Assault Center of McGill Student’s Society invited me to speak at a beautiful memorial they organized. I was terrified of the prospect, but it felt important to think and write in response to the massacre in the city I now call home. It was great two stand up there following the reflections of two feminist colleagues. Below are my remarks.
Fourteen women were killed twenty years ago today for being women. Fourteen others were injured, including four men. The ripples of violence continued as some survivors killed themselves, only to be followed by the suicides of grief-stricken parents. This was a surprise attack by a heavily armed assailant intent on mass murder and suicide. Some students never even saw the shooter before being hit by a bullet. Some students were able to bar him out with a locked door; at least one woman argued with him; many fled; many hid; two huddled women were discovered and executed; some got help in time; fourteen did not. Fourteen women were killed for being women, and many more people were hurt in ways that remain incalculable. There is almost nothing these women could have done. Most violence against women is not like this.