The Montreal Massacre

1989 – A lone man walked into an engineering class at L’École Polytechnique at the University of Montréal. He separated the men from the women and told the men to leave. After the male students complied, the man declared his hatred of feminists and began to shoot the women with a semi-automatic rifle. While police forces stood outside, Marc Lépine went on a rampage, shooting and stabbing the women at the school. He then shot himself.

He left behind a note that included a list of prominent Canadian feminists whom he planned to kill. It was clear that these women engineering students symbolized the progress of women’s equality. Lépine’s actions could have pushed back women’s demands for increased equality through social change. However, women organized in defiance of his attack.

Women rose up to demonstrate in towns and cities across the country. They connected Lépine’s acts of violence to the everyday sexism to which women are subjected. Women dedicated themselves to feminist organizing to bring into reality their expectations of freedom for the present and the future.

The 14 women who were killed as feminists:

Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte.

Among his list of 19 feminists he planned to kill were:

A freelance journalist, the first woman firefighter in Quebec, a television host, the vice-president of the Confederation of National Trade Unions, the Quebec Immigration Minister, the first woman police captain in Quebec, the Canadian champion of the 1988 Chartered Accountant Exams, the former vice-president of Montreal Trust, a radio sports show host, and a transition house worker.

To learn more about The Montreal Massacre:

Read Women, Violence and the Montréal Massacre by Lee Lakeman

Read Mass Murder in Montréal: The Sexual Politics of Killing Women by Andrea Dworkin

Listen Montréal Massacre 20 Years Later, Daisy Kler interview with RedEye Cooperative

Watch Reframing the Montreal Massacre by Maureen Bradley