Today is December 6, the 24th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre and the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. This day observes the anniversary of the École Polytechnique Massacre, and is a day for people throughout Canada to reflect on the ongoing social impact of violence against women.

It hits close to home this year. I’ll be in church for a memorial, praying for Rehtaeh and everyone else who has suffered this year. The year Rehtaeh was born I joined a group, Men 4 Change, because I wanted her to live in a safer world. Now here I am, sitting in a coffee shop, trying to understand my life without her.

She’ll never know the difference she made or the solace her loving mom and dad have found in the thoughts and prayers of others. I am thankful for everyone outraged enough to speak up and demand change.

  • Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.
  • 67% of all Canadians say they personally know at least one woman who has been sexually or physically assaulted.
  • On average, every six days a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. In 2011, In 2011, from the 89 police reported spousal homicides, 76 of the victims (over 85%) were women.
  • On any given day in Canada, more than 3,300 women (along with their 3,000 children) are forced to sleep in an emergency shelter to escape domestic violence. Every night, about 200 women are turned away because the shelters are full.
  • Each year, over 40,000 arrests result from domestic violence—that’s about 12% of all violent crime in Canada.
  • Since only 22% of all incidents are reported to the police, the real number is much higher.
    As of 2010, there were 582 known cases of missing or murdered Aboriginal women in Canada.
  • The cost of violence against women in Canada for health care, criminal justice, social services, and lost wages and productivity has been calculated at $4.8 billion per year.
  • In a 2009 Canadian national survey, women reported 460,000 incidents of sexual assault in just one year.
  • Only about 10% of all sexual assaults are reported to police.
  • When it comes to sexual assault, women are frequently not believed, blamed for being assaulted, “or subjected to callous or insensitive treatment, when police fail to take evidence, or when their cases are dropped arbitrarily.”
  • Only a handful of reported assaults ever result in a conviction: each year, only about 1,500 sexual assault offenders are actually convicted.
  • More than one in ten Canadian women say they have been stalked by someone in a way that made them fear for their life.
[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” ]For 45 minutes on Dec. 6, 1989 an enraged gunman roamed the corridors of Montreal’s École Polytechnique and killed 14 women. He separated the men from the women and before opening fire on the classroom of female engineering students he screamed, “I hate feminists.” Almost immediately, the Montreal Massacre became a galvanizing moment in which mourning turned into outrage about all violence against women.[/box]