Montreal family hopes daughter's death can raise awareness about violence against women

Montreal family hopes daughter's death can raise awareness about violence against women

A year after her death, Clemence Beaulieu-Patry's loved ones packed a gymnasium at a school in Montreal's Rosemont neighbourhood to celebrate her life — and raise awareness about violence against women.

The 20-year-old woman was stabbed to death on April 10, 2016, while working at a Maxi grocery store in Saint-Michel.

​Randy Tshilumba, also 20, is accused of first-degree murder.

Tshilumba and Beaulieu-Patry knew one another and had attended the same high school.

The trial is scheduled to begin in September.

Monday's event was held at École Sans-Frontières. where Beaulieu-Patry's mother teaches.

Her father, Luc Patry, said it was the right time to celebrate his daughter's life, even if the family may never stop grieving.

"She was always laughing, always so happy," he said in an interview Monday.

Patry said his daughter often spoke of the senselessness of volence against women. He said his daughter would have been proud of what they are trying to do.

Her uncle, Denis Craig, acknowledged that curbing crime against women isn't an easy task but, he said, "if we could contribute only one drop in stopping violence against women, we would happy."

Darlene Ryan, whose stepdaugther Brigitte Serre was killed in a brutal attack at her workplace 11 years ago, was among those on hand for the event.

Ryan is now a volunteer with the Association des familles de personnes disparues ou assassinés. She said the effort by Beaulieu-Patry's family is inspiring. 

"For them, it's the one-year anniversary, it would've been hard for them anyway, but it would've been much harder if they would've been sitting at home, by themselves."