Established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, this day marks the anniversary of the massacre in 1989 of 14 young women at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. They died because they were women.

“While we mourn the 14 young female students, many NAPE members will also reflect on the tragic deaths of at least three women co-workers who were victims of senseless violence,” said NAPE President Carol Furlong.

The Silent Witness Project is a travelling exhibit of life-size red wooden silhouettes. Each represents a woman who was murdered by a current or former husband, partner or acquaintance. Because these women no longer have a voice, the silhouettes are called the silent witnesses. The Campaign began in America in 1990 when women’s groups and artists in Minnesota decided to commemorate and honour women murdered as a result of domestic violence. NAPE played a pivotal role in bringing the campaign to the province in 2005.

Members of NAPE’s Women’s’ Committee will be showcasing local silhouettes at the December 6th Vigil being held at Memorial University this evening. Each silhouette bears the name of a NAPE member who was killed in an act of violence.

“Violence against women and children has to stop,” said Furlong. “It is not enough to simply talk about how awful it is that women and young girls are treated with inequality, degradation and contempt. We must all work together in our society to ensure that women and girls are safe in their homes, schools, the streets, and in their workplaces.”

Of the 217,900 women over the age of 15 residing in Newfoundland and Labrador, approximately 108,950 (1 in 2) will experience at least one incident of sexual or physical violence throughout their lifetime. Approximately only 10% of these women will actually report this victimization to police. Women living in violent situations often lack the financial resources to leave. Their situation is frequently compounded by low wages, cuts to social assistance and inadequate funding for women’s services and shelters.

“The numbers don’t lie. Violence against women is a serious issue that affects too many women and girls in our province long after the December 6th tragedy in 1989,” said Furlong. “This is a day of remembrance, but it is also a day that must lead to action — at the political, community, and personal level.”

For further information, please contact:
Keith Dunne, NAPE Campaigns and Communications Coordinator
(office) 709.754.0700 (e-mail) (cell) 709.631.9737