Today, December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, in memory of the 14 young women killed at the École Polytechnique in Montreal 32 years ago. Today, we remember, grieve and recognize the impact of gender-based violence on our communities.
Thousands of women are subjected to violence each day, and time will not permit me to touch on the many personal stories of violence from women in New Brunswick. However, I will highlight a few of them. While these stories are graphic and difficult to read and hear, it is imperative to understand how violent behaviour can escalate.
Michèle Renault was killed by her common-law partner after he struck her repeatedly with a hammer. Before her murder, Michèle’s relationship with her partner had become intolerable, and she vacated their home. Furious that she had left, a fight escalated to her murder while Michèle’s eight-year-old daughter was present.
Karen Buchanan was shot to death in her home by her common-law partner, who turned the shotgun on himself afterward. He had just finished serving probation for threatening her. Their 15-year relationship had been abusive. He had two previous convictions for assaulting Karen and was known to threaten her with his shotgun.
Gail Foster is another victim who was shot at home by her husband after complaining about his drinking. She made it to the driveway but collapsed beside her car and died 15 minutes later. She might have survived her injuries if she had received medical assistance. Still, her husband did not call 911 for several hours. Gail’s relationship with her husband was marked by chronic violence. He isolated her, controlled her every move, and even threatened to shoot her.
There are many warning signs for domestic homicide. These stories are extreme and grave and account for patterns of violence between intimate partners. Nonetheless, cycles of violence are all too common. To prevent these deaths, we must educate and raise awareness to eliminate violence against women.
If you or someone you know is being subjected to violence, help is available. Visit our website: www.gnb.ca/supportservices or call 211.