The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women will be marked with a vigil at the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre on Dec. 6.
The event is an annual reminder of the École Polytechnique Massacre, which saw 14 women killed by a psychologically disturbed gunman.
“It remembers the 14 engineering students who were murdered,” said Cathy Jordan, executive director of the centre. “That’s an important part of it but it’s symbolic. It’s an opportunity to remember all the women and children who are impacted by domestic violence.”
The centre always lights 15 candles during the ceremony; 14 for those gunned down and the last flame to represent all the nameless victims of violence.
“It’s an important reminder that we need to take action against violence against women and children,” said Jordan. “It’s important that we pause and reflect on this issue. This is our opportunity to bring the community together to do that.”
Last year, the resource centre helped 160 women and children at Chrysalis House, a shelter for those fleeing abusive situations. However, 817 were turned away due to a lack of space, said Jordan.
“It’s definitely an issue in our community,” she said. “It speaks to the importance of the vigil in creating awareness and reminding everyone that it’s a community issue.
“It is a whole community issue; men and women, rich and poor. We need to work together to end violence against women.”
The vigil, an outdoor candlelight ceremony followed by an indoor reception, will be held at the resource centre, located at 2 MacNeil Crt., from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m.