Windsor Vigil Highlights Violence Against Women Persists

A vigil is held at the University of Windsor Memorial of Hope to mark the anniversary of the Ecole Polytechnique massacre and remember women who have fallen victim to violence. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

There’s still plenty of room for improvement on the issue of violence against women.

That’s the sentiment coming from a vigil held at the University of Windsor remembering the 14 women killed in the Ecole Polytechnique massacre in Montreal in 1989.

Windsor’s Meredith Smye attended the vigil and stressed the importance of having men be part of the solution.

The names of the 14 women killed in the December 6, 1989 massacre at Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique engraved on a memorail at the University of Windsor. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

The names of the 14 women killed in the December 6, 1989 massacre at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique engraved on a memorial at the University of Windsor. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

“It’s not going to stop until we have women not only aware, but we have men aware and taking action with their brothers to stop it,” says Smye.

Women’s Studies professor Jane Ku says while there is greater awareness of the issue, more needs to be done.

“There has to be some sort of re-education of all of us, men and women,” says Ku. “It has to come too with men being wiling to come to the table and do something about it.”

A fair number of people came out to lay roses at the Memorial of Hope on the university campus to mark the anniversary of the sad day on a chilly and wet evening.

It was important to Smye to attend the vigil on Tuesday to pay her respects to the victims and to remember the tragedy.

“It was extremely sad for the deaths, but it was sad for the initial denial that [the attack] was directed at women when it was so obvious,” says Smye.

Christina Simmons attended the vigil and the night seemed to weigh especially heavy on her after the murder of Windsor-Essex native Dr. Elana Fric-Shamji, as Simmons spoke through near tears in conveying the significance of showing support for victims of violence.

“Right today I’m thinking of the woman who was murdered in Toronto … she is from Windsor and her sister works on the campus and I think many of us who have some connection through that are feeling the same thing about violence against women,” says Simmons.

Fric-Shamji’s husband, Dr. Mohammed Shamji, is charged with first-degree murder in his wife’s death.

The vigil was held in conjunction with the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.