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A Moment of Silence

It is December 6.

On this date, in 1989, 14 female engineering students were murdered because they were women. Because they were, in the mind of a serial killer, feminists.

The Association for Research on Mothering has asked us to take a moment today to remember these 14 women, who today might have been at work or making preparations for the holidays or rocking their children to sleep had their lives not been cut brutally short.

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

I was in graduate school in 1989. I graduated that May with a Masters in Architecture from the University of Illinois. I never heard about these murders. How can that be possible? Where did this happened? Did they ever find the murderer? I was following the UnaBomber case pretty closely at the time because he had mailed his packages to university grad students working on research projects. The kind of research jobs my friends had.
Perhaps because this happened in Canada, it was not publicized a lot. Sadly, even Canadians seem to be remembering it less and less. It happened in Montreal. I too was in university at the time (in Canada) and for all of the women I knew, it was very, very upsetting. To think that you could be killed just for being a woman and going to school - it was the first time I realized that something that goes on everyday in other countries could happen at home.
The fact that this happened to women engineering students strikes me as sadly ironic, somehow. In my experience (as a women with an MS degree in electrical engineering) women engineers are far less likely to discuss feminist issues than are women in more traditionally "female" fields of study. In fact, I can't remember ever talking about feminism with any female engineers--I've had some male engineers bring it up, though. How tragic and absurd--I guess mass murders always are.
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