December 7, 2014
Sisters & Siblings,
This Fall, we’ve talked a lot about violence. It may have started with Ray Rice or Jian Ghomeshi, but the conversations have spread like wild fire. We’ve heard from brave women, we’ve seen celebrities and politicians fall from grace, and it feels like we are in the midst of something. Something that might look like change.
It seems so incredibly appropriate that these past weeks of conversations led up to December 6., the one day that our nation designates for official remembrance of the victims of violence against women. And this being the 25th anniversary of that horrific massacre, we almost thought the country would bubble over with hope and healing. But it all feels a bit murkier than that.
What we continue to see is anger, grief, and denial; more voices speaking truth the power, but falling on deaf ears.
The repeal of the gun registry, the lack of affordable housing designated for women escaping violence — these are the types of policy blunders that keep women at risk. Prime Minister Stephen Harper still refuses to call an inquiry into the deaths and disappearances of more than 1,000 Indigenous women. Toronto nurse Zahra Abdille was found dead with her two children Faris and Zain last week. She had returned to her abusive husband after spending time in a women’s shelter and fighting custody battles.
We loves these closing words in Nora Loreto’s lyrical call to action and remembrance:
We will not let you loosen gun control laws.
We will not let you hurt our sisters or our families.
We will not allow for the destruction of our lands to continue.
We will do everything we can to protect each other, our children and their children’s children.
- After the Montreal Massacre, women took to the streets in tears of rage, grief, and solidarity, and demanded that the world recognize misogyny for what it was: totally fucking pervasive. Shelley Page reflects on her coverage of the killings and its aftermath with some remorse: “Looking back, I fear I sanitized the event of its feminist anger and then infantilized and diminished the victims, turning them from elite engineering students who’d fought for a place among men into teddy-bear loving daughters, sisters and girlfriends.”
- Immediately after the massacre occurred, media and government officials told a version of the story that obscured the killer’s explicitly misogynist and anti-feminist intentions. Echoing that same white-washery 25 years later, Fuckhead Peter MacKay told the House of Commons that “we may never understand … why these women were singled out for this horrific act of violence.” God that guy is such an asshole.
- And adding insult to injury, in a most outrageous and ironic act, the Conservatives chose Dec 6. to enact new sex work legislation that workers say will only increase the risks of their trade. Now’s probably a good time to re-read Ainsley Doty’s piece on sex work legislation, to get a grip on what these changes mean.
- A coalition of Sex workers and their allies have asked Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to refer the anti-sex worker Bill back to the Ontario Court of Appeal and to instruct Crown prosecutors not to enforce it until its constitutionality can be determined again. Sign this PETITION.
- The Star’s Catherine Porter gives a short history of protests that occurred in the wake of the Massacre. The Parliamentary report “The War on Women,” affirmed feminist outrage, and gave us some of the first made-in-Canada statistics on violence against women. Compared with today’s statistic, however, she also notes that little have changed.
- Surprisingly, the mogul-conglomerate Rogers Media through its many outlets (including Chatelaine, Maclean’s, Canadian Business, Flare, Today’s Parent, Châtelaine, L’actualité and City News) will explore issues of sexual assault, abuse and harassment hrough their on-going series: Project 97, “a year long conversation about sexual assault in Canada.”
- There has been an outpouring of protest across North America after a grand jury’s failure to indict Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown. “I Can’t Breathe,” the last words of Eric Garner, a man choked to death by a New York police officer, have become the rallying cry for protesters everywhere, a long with the devastating and simple pronouncement: Black Lives Matter. The officer in that case has also not been indicted. SHAME. Vincent Warren of the Guardian argues that we need to call these incidents for what they are: examples of systemic racism. And look for system-wide changes.
- As we turn to each other for support and comfort, Laura Anne Robertson’s reflection on the work of caring, is both timely and thoughtful. As she writes: “The supposedly natural emotions of love and compassion are used to compel many people, especially women, to work for free.“
- Case in Point: the Star’s Sarah Mojtehedzadeh looks at how immigrant women end up working for less and giving more in Toronto’s care giving sectors.
- A piece of miscellaneous news: Wonder Women was a suffragette!
- Also in the New Inquiry, Hannah Black reflects on caring for her brother and mental illness.
- Amidst all these discussions about sexual violence, positive images of female sexuality can fall by the wayside. But they do exist. Feminists DO like to do it! We asked our readers to anonymously share their sex stories and YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE reading their responses. There is still time to take our SEX SURVEY. We are going to post one set of answer every week for the next 10 weeks.
- And finally we are also SO EXCITED to announce that our newest issue will start trickling out THIS WEEK. stay tuned, boobs.
Yours in love and solidarity,