Three organizations in the city of Timmins are doing their part in marking an important day of remembrance for victims of gender-based violence.

This Thursday, December 6th, Centre Passerelle Pour Femmes, Tranquility House and Timmins and Area Women in Crisis, are organizing a vigil for Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. The event was established in 1991 and it commemorates the women who were murdered at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989.

“They were murdered by a man who decided that he was frustrated against women,” said Chantal Mailloux, Community Development Coordinator for Centre Passerelle Pour Femmes, “and he just wanted to kill them. […] So he went into the school, went into a classroom, divided the men and the women and he shot the women that were there. And then he went about in the school and in total he murdered 14 women.”

Each year since then, commemorations have been held for the women who were murdered on that day. The event also honors the lives of women who were killed because of any kind of gender-based violence. So far in 2018, there have been 48 women in Ontario who have been murdered because of gender-based violence.

Mayor Pirie and the Chief of Timmins Police will be attending the vigil this Thursday, which starts at 6:30 PM at City Hall. The Mayor, Chief of Police, and members of city council will read the 48 names of the women who have died this year.

The vigil will help bring awareness to the issue of violence against women, and it will hopefully help educate people about the problems women face in society and how it can lead to violence and even death.

“I think it’s extremely important to see how much of an issue it is,” said Chantal, “and to bring awareness, and bring some education as well. […] I think, just to be there and for people to be aware of it is a good start.”

This issue has been in the spotlight in the past year as the #MeToo Movement has become a major social movement, sparking arrests and firings, and a public outcry and rallies from women all over the world.

“I think that the #MeToo Movement really helped women feel more empowered to come forward with their assaults,” Chantal said.

Women who live in a situation of gender-based violence, or have in the past, can come to Centre Passerelle for counselling. They are a Francophone agency that offers transitional housing for women in need, with a worker who specializes in helping women get out of a violent situation. They also run a women’s shelter: Villa RenouvEllement. 

Events that bring awareness to gender-based violence are important in educating the public about some of the problems women face. Other ways people can help is by speaking out when they see gender-based assault, harassment or violence in their everyday lives.

“Speak out on it,” said Chantal, “You know, when someone makes a weird joke about a woman, you know, how she needs to be in the kitchen, or something like that. Just speak out on it and say, “you know, that’s not funny,” and kind of stop it there before it goes further.”

The vigil for Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women takes place this Thursday, Dec. 6th at 6:30 PM at City Hall. Hot drinks will be served to keep people warm.

To learn more about Centre Passerelle pour Femmes, visit their website. You can also visit the websites for Tranquility House and Timmins and Area Women in Crisis.


Filed under: Local News