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    4th Canadian Division Support Group (4 CDSG) Commander Colonel Louis Lapointe and 4 CDSG Formation Sergeant Major Chief Warrant Officer Tom Verner were invited to lay one of 23 red roses, each one representing a Renfrew County woman whose name is etched on the Renfrew County Women’s Monument where the vigil was held. (Photo by Lisa Brazeau, Petawawa Post)

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    At a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women vigil held in Petawawa Dec. 6, candles were lit and roses laid to honour the 14 female students who died in a mass shooting at L’École Polytechnique 29 years ago, as well as Ontario women who have lost their lives to violence, missing and murdered Indigenous women, and those who are still living with violence. (Photo by Lisa Brazeau, Petawawa Post)


 

 


Vigil held in Petawawa to mark National Day of
Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

By Lisa Brazeau

Posted on Thursday December 13, 2018


On December 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, several dozen people encircled the Renfrew County Women’s Monument in Petawawa to mourn and celebrate the lives of 14 female students lost to a senseless act of violence at L’École Polytechnique 29 years ago.

At the annual vigil, candles were lit as the names of Genevieve Bergeron, Helene Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganiere, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michele Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte, and Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz were read aloud.

Another was lit as those in attendance heard the names of 44 Ontario women murdered in the past year.
Twenty-three Renfrew County women whose lives were tragically cut short were also honoured - as their names were read, red roses were placed at the foot of the monument.

Organized by End Violence Against Women - Renfrew County (EVA-Renfrew County), this year’s event marked the one year anniversary of the sentencing of Basil Borutski, the man responsible for the 2015 murders of county residents Anastasia Kuzyk, Nathalie Warmerdam and Carol Culleton.

EVA - Renfrew County Coordinator JoAnne Brooks shared part of the community impact statement read at his sentencing hearing on Dec. 5, 2017, which details grim and sobering statistics about violence against women. “Violence has not ended,” she said. “Every five days, a woman in Canada is murdered at the hands of her intimate partner.”

Women in Renfrew County, she noted, are 30 per cent more likely to be threatened by a gun because they live rurally. “Renfrew County communities face well known, unique day-to-day vulnerabilities such as personal isolation due to our vast geography, no public transportation, women’s economic realities, potentially long crisis response times, lack of privacy and confidentiality, concerns about where to hide, where to be safe and a lack of community resources due to funding that is done by population,” Brooks said.

Alongside the 23 red roses, a single yellow rose was laid by Grandmother Roberta Della-Picca who read the names of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Ontario.

A white rose was placed for women living with violence. “Our resolve is strengthened to be here until not another woman dies,” continued Brooks, noting if a minute of silence was observed for all the women listed on the service program, the silence would last for several hours. “For all of us, the time is now to ensure that the lived realities of survivors of male violence and the voices of women’s lives taken from us are heard and responded to.”

Also among those invited to place flowers were 4th Canadian Division Support Group (4 CDSG) Commander Colonel Louis Lapointe and 4 CDSG Formation Sergeant Major Chief Warrant Officer Tom Verner.

Col Lapointe noted that December 6 is not only a day to remember and honour the innocent lives lost at L’École Polytechnique, but it is also a time to reflect “on the role we can all play in preventing even small acts of misogyny in the workplace. Violence and discrimination disproportionately impact women every day in Canada and throughout the world.”

He echoed the sentiments expressed in a statement issued by Chief of the Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance and Deputy Minister of National Defence Jody Thomas on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. “We remain committed to building a Defence Team where every member can feel safe and protected at work, and be confident that they will be treated fairly and respectfully,” the statement reads, in part. “Programs and services are in place to support military and civilian staff across the organization but the road to a respectful workplace where everyone is treated equally begins with each and every one of us.”

Others organizations assisted with the vigil including the Women’s Sexual Assault Centre, Victim Services, the Renfrew Victoria Hospital Assault Response Program, the Renfrew County Legal Clinic, Ministry of the Attorney General, and Metis Nation.