Classes were finished for the term. I was headed to campus to attend a Christmas gathering when I heard the rumour of something terrible that had happened in Montreal. Only later, when I was home and watching the news did I realize what that was.
As a young adult I always assumed that people my age and younger would have no difficulty with the concept of sexual equality. After all, we had grown up in the 70's and 80's. Our world was one that was different than our parents' world. OF course I have since learned that I was wrong. I have since met many many people my age and younger who still have very old ideas about gender roles.
In 1989 a seriously disturbed young man, angry at the world, at the school that had denied him access, and at the women he blamed for "taking his place" snapped. And 15 lives were lost, 15 families shattered. 14 families were left wondering what had put their daughters in the line of fire and one family was left to deal with the reality that their son had done this.
In the years since December 6 has been marked at campuses across the country. It has been a day of remembering not only those 14 but all women who suffer from violence at the hands of men. It is a day when many men reaffirm our belief about the need to speak out about gender roles, about the need for another way of living, about the need to teach our sons differently.
In memory of those 14 and hundreds of others, I urge you to take a moment of silence. In hope that we can never again have such an event to remember, I urge you to tak time to speak out. Only by teaching what is and is not acceptable to we stop the growth and escalation of anger, of violence, of pain, of death.