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Vigil held in Renfrew County to mark National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

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On the 34th anniversary of the murders of 14 women at École Polytechnique in Montreal, community members and groups came together in Petawawa, Ont. to mark the day, and remember those women lost to violence in their own community.

"That's hard," said Lisa Coutu, Petawawa town councillor and chair of the town's equity, diversity, and inclusion advisory committee.

"That's in your community and you're living with people who knew these women. So honoring their memory is less abstract, it's more real."

The vigil was held at the Women's Monument in Petawawa, where the names of 27 local woman who have had their lives taken through violence are etched.

"This year we added two new names to the rock, Summer Boudreau and Lisa Hartwick," said JoAnne Brooks, with End Violence Against Women Renfrew County.

"It's always very raw for folks," Brooks tells CTV News.

"But it's important for us to come together as a community to remember and honor those women."

Brooks says Dec. 6, 1989 - the day of the massacre in Montreal - was a wake up call to many of the misogyny and femicide that happens on a daily basis.

But Brooks adds that the inquest into the triple of murder of Carol Culleton, Anastasia Kuzyk, and Nathalie Warmerdam in 2017 has created positive change.

The inquest made 86 recommendations in ending intimate partner violence, the first of which, declaring it an epidemic.

"To date, I believe that there are more than 77 municipalities in Ontario that have done that," says Brooks.

Coutu says the town of Petawawa is planning to join that list soon.

"Events like this are hard, but important," she says.

"And 27 names; you want to hope that we don't have to get a bigger rock."

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