Vigil remembers female victims of violence
Tracey Tong/metro ottawa
"Women should not be harmed by men in any circumstances, especially in a country of equality."
An annual national memorial service hit much closer to home as Ottawa residents shared their personal experiences and remembered three city women recently killed by a family member.
In front of a crowd of about 200, Yvonne Harvey spoke about her daughter, Chrissy Predham, who was killed on Jan. 21 this year, during the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women service last night. The Orleans native and mother of an infant girl was just shy of her 29th birthday when she died.
“She was an absolutely beautiful young woman, inside and out,” said Harvey. “She was altruistic and meticulous in everything she did. She was down-to-earth, fun-loving and a free spirit. Chrissy, we love you,” she said.
Melissa Shankar also shared her story for the first time at Minto Park. Twenty years ago, the then three-year-old and her younger sister witnessed their mother’s murder.
“Women should not be harmed by men in any circumstances, especially in a country of equality,” said Shankar. “No woman should tolerate violence from a man, period.”
Holding candles and flowers, mourners not only remembered the 14 women who were murdered in the Montreal Massacre at L’Ecole Polytechnique in 1989, but three women murdered in Ottawa three weeks ago.
The names of Amarjeet Brar, Dildeep Brar and Manmeet Brar were announced during the reading of the names at the ceremony.
“(Three) weeks ago, three women all died at the hands of a man in their family,” said Elsy David, a program director for Women’s Initiatives for Safer Environments. “Two of them were in the prime of their lives. We have come together to honour them and to grieve.”
“This is a sad day,” said Concillia Muonde, a public education coordinator with the Sexual Support Centre of Ottawa and one of the organizers of the event. “We hope that we don’t have to keep on doing this and sad that we do.”
Velvet LeClair said she was touched by the service.
“I cried the whole time,” said the Ottawa resident.