The recent deaths of three city women at the hands of a family member will be on everybody’s minds as local groups observe today’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
Dildeep and Manmeet Brar — two former University of Ottawa students slain by their father in November — will be remembered during vigils slated tonight on the university campus and at Minto Park on Elgin Street.
“The vigil is … terribly important for addressing a widespread problem,” said vice-president university affairs, Seamus Wolfe. “If we aren’t progressive in our criticisms, we’re going to be left with the same situation in the future.
“We wanted to have our own vigil on campus because we wanted to highlight that this is an issue that affects students. We’ve seen some horrible acts at campuses across Ontario this year.”
Many people will be focused on the Nov. 21 slaying of Amarjeet, Dildeep and Manmeet Brar, but the vigils should also be an inspiration to action, said Leighann Burns, executive director of Ottawa women’s shelter, Harmony House.
“Every time a woman or a child is murdered, the media focuses on these events as though it’s isolated and it’s not,” she said. “It’s connected to all the other ones that have happened … These women and children could have lived full … lives and they had their lives stolen from them.”
A social scientist at the University of Ottawa, Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth organized an event that brought together the medical community to observe the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre today.
“The recent tragedies add to it, absolutely,” said Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth. “We’ll have a moment of silence to acknowledge them.”