Friday, June 26

When Partner Abuse Isn't a Bruise But a Pregnant Belly

Intimate partner violence doesn't always show up in photos. Emotional and mental abuse can be just as scarring as physical abuse, but it is often much more difficult to recognize and address. This is an interesting article that specifically talks about pregnancy/having children as a form of relationship control and creating dependency.

'He Thought a Baby Would Keep Me in His Life Forever': When Partner Abuse Isn't a Bruise But a Pregnant Belly - AlterNet, By Lynn Harris

Tuesday, June 23

Opposition NDP slams Tory politician for 'sexist' remarks on blog

"The blog posting was framed as a bit of advice for girls that suggested "men are attracted to smiles, so smile and don't give me any of that equal stuff. If you want equal, it comes in little packages at Starbucks."

The blog also said there's "nothing that a man wants less than a woman scowling because he thinks he is going to get shit for something and he has no idea what."

Notley [NDP] said the comments suggest a lack of respect for women and a failure to understand women's struggle for equality.

"What does it say about Alberta when a government MLA is telling young girls that their understanding of equality can be found in a diet sweetener at Starbucks?" Notley asked in a news release.

"Equal is a woman's right, not a Starbucks sweetener.""

New favourite line: "If I were sexist I think I would certainly know about it by now." Um, dude, we just told you...

Sunday, June 21

It Starts With You

Dear friends of the White Ribbon Campaign. We are extremely happy to share our latest campaign with you.

We are launching this campaign just prior to Father's Day here in North America - to celebrate, inspire, and mark the important role fathers (and other adult male role models) can play in promoting healthy and gender equitable relationships in our world.

This campaign hopes to:

* Help men positively influence their younger sons, grandsons, brothers, nephews, students, and community members;
* Engage young people in meaningful dialogue about gender equality; and,
* Connect with other men to find out what works when talking with the boys in their lives.

Campaign Links:
It Starts With You
Ca Commence Avec Toi

I really hope you can visit the site, share it with your friends, and even post some of your own stories. There is a page dedicated to how you can share this with others, download a Facebook link, or download a banner. We would very much appreciate any links to your and your work around the world, any blogging you can do on the campaign - or other ideas of who we should be
sharing it with.

As an online, internet based campaign - we hope that anyone who finds it useful and relevant is able to share and utilize the information.

I think it is also important to express our gratitude for our colleagues at the Family Violence Prevention Fund in the US sharing their research and experience in their "Coaching Boys Into Men" campaign, which was very important to our effort.

The great thing about developing this campaign was learning from men across Ontario, that most of us are already doing this kind of mentoring in our lives. We maybe need some tips and encouragement and inspiration, or to make the links between our roles as fathers and mentors and ending violence against women, but it made for a very inspiring and hopeful experience
developing this campaign.

Thanks for taking a minute to check it out - your feedback is most welcome. And most of all Happy Father's Day!

Until the violence stops,


Todd Minerson, Executive Director

White Ribbon Campaign

men working to end violence against women

p: 416-920-6684 / f: 416-920-1678

Saturday, June 20

Joyce Arthur: Facts and fictions about sex trafficking and Vancouver's 2010 Olympics

With the 2010 Winter Olympic Games only seven months away, there is growing speculation that trafficking in women will increase significantly in Vancouver. A major new report lays these fears to rest by debunking the alleged link between a boom in sex trafficking and large sporting events.

Download: Human Trafficking, Sex Work Safety and the 2010 Games

The 150-page report, Human Trafficking, Sex Work Safety and the 2010 Games, was commissioned by Vancouver's Sex Industry Worker Safety Action Group (SIWSAG). Warning that ill-informed assumptions about 2010 and trafficking may actually endanger sex workers, its recommendations focus on the real concern: that Games-related street closures and the planned security regime risks displacing sex workers into more dangerous and isolated areas. The report also notes community fears that street-level sex workers may be moved in an effort to "clean up the streets".

The report echoes the 2009 Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women report on sex trafficking and the 2010 Olympics, which found that "an increase of trafficking in persons into forced prostitution does not occur around sporting events". Further, the RCMP has stated that there is no evidence to suggest an increase in human trafficking during the Games (Vancouver Sun, January 7).

In the moral crusade against prostitution, trafficking is often wrongly conflated with sex work, a position first argued by the Bush Republicans who refused American funding aid to sex-worker and anti-trafficking organizations that support the decriminalization of sex work. However, trafficking in persons involves the coerced movement of a person into a situation of forced labour, while sex work is the consensual exchange of sexual services for money.

The great majority of sex workers are not trafficked or controlled by "pimps". Most are in business for themselves or work through an agency, and most work indoors, not on the street where it's far more dangerous. Conflating trafficking with sex work is wrong and, worse, can mask the real issues of violence and exploitation that occur within both trafficking and sex work. For example, trafficking victims in other economic sectors, such as construction or farm work, are ignored in the moral panic over sex trafficking.

Sex trafficking is a serious crime, but a wide range of factors makes it difficult to prevent or detect. Global estimates of trafficking victims are often no better than "guesstimates" and can be grossly over-inflated, especially prior to large sporting events. An estimated 40,000 forced prostitutes were expected in Germany for the 2006 World Cup, but they failed to show up. About 20,000 forced prostitutes were anticipated for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, but only 181 trafficked persons were actually reported in Greece for all of 2004.

Sex workers have the same right to travel and migrate as anyone else, but when they are wrongly labeled as trafficking victims, it leads to extreme human rights violations. In many countries-including Canada-this means violent raids of brothels, and the harassment, criminalization, detention, and deportation of sex workers, most of whom are voluntary workers. A huge concern is that misguided enforcement campaigns take place with no input from affected groups, including sex-worker groups, trafficked persons, migrant workers, unions, and relevant labour sectors.

The tendency to focus on international trafficking also means that domestic trafficking is given short shrift. But forced migration from rural areas of Canada to the cities is an enormous problem for aboriginal women and girls, who live with a devastating legacy from colonialism and forced assimilation. According to the Native Women's Association of Canada, many "are driven into domestic trafficking as a result by poverty and conditions on the reserve, sometimes by conditions of abuse".

The RCMP estimates that "600 women and children are trafficked into Canada each year for the purpose of sexual exploitation" (SIWSAG report). Anti-trafficking initiatives are critically important, but grossly inflating the level of trafficking and treating all female sex workers as trafficked victims does nothing to improve their safety-it only exacerbates their stigma and marginalization.

We must involve affected stakeholders and apply an evidence-based approach to prevent trafficking, rather than misrepresent the issues with scare-mongering, sexist rhetoric. Most importantly, our focus must be on ensuring the safety and full human rights of sex workers before, during, and after the 2010 Games.

Joyce Arthur is a cofounder of FIRST, a feminist group advocating for the rights of sex workers and for the decriminalization of prostitution.

Thursday, June 18

Weekly Feminist Photo

Good Morning,

This comes from Off Our Backs (link), a feminist collective that has published a news journal since the 70's.

If you see a photo that you'd like to see posted/written about, email with "Weekly Feminist Photo" in the subject line.

CUPE wins rights for NB casual workers

"A New Brunswick court has struck down part of the province's labour law that strips casual workers of basic rights.

In a decision released today, Justice Paulette Garnett of the New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench ruled that the New Brunswick Public Service Labour Relations Act is contrary to section 2(d) of the Charter of Rights which protects the right to freedom of association.

“We are very pleased with this victory. We have casual workers in this province who have been working as ‘casual’ in the public sector for years. Those workers have no rights, earn less and have no benefits,” said CUPE New Brunswick president Daniel Légère.

Justice Garnett said for many years the province, as an employer, has subjected casual workers to practices which can “only be described as unfair.”

The judge is giving the province one year to remedy this situation.

CUPE launched legal proceedings in September 2005 to obtain rights for those workers.

Thousands of temporary or seasonal workers employed by the province could be affected by this decision.

The fight over casual workers has been waged multiple times over the past two decades."

Wednesday, June 17

Men Outearn Women in Almost All Occupations

From the Institute for Women's Policy Research:

A new analysis released by the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) today on Equal Pay Day shows that men out-earn women in nearly every occupation for which data are available.

Of the more than 500 occupational categories for which sufficient data are provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in only 5 occupations do women earn the same or more than men.

Men earn more than women even in jobs that are most common among women, such as

- Administrative assistants: women earn only 83.4 cents for a man's dollar
- Elementary and middle school teachers: women earn 87.6 cents for a man's dollar
- Registered nurses: women earn 87.4 cents for a man's dollar

Men and women still tend to be concentrated in very different jobs, with the most common jobs among women paying less than the most common jobs held by men. For example, the highest paying of the ten most common occupations for women, 'Registered Nurses,' pays $1,011 in median weekly earnings, whereas the highest paying of men's top ten most common jobs is 'Managers, all other,' which pays $1,359 per week. The lowest paying of the most common
jobs for women is 'Cashier' at $349 per week, whereas the lowest paying most common job for men is 'Cook' at $404 per week.

Ariane Hegewisch, Study Director at the Institute for Women's Policy Research, says, "Women tend to be in the minority of workers in the occupations with the highest earnings. We need to ensure that women are fully informed about the earnings potential of an occupation before they
choose their careers."

The analysis uses data from the Bureau of Labor statistics from 2008.

IWPR Director of Research Dr. Barbara Gault notes, "The data paint a clear picture of a workforce that remains strongly divided on the basis of sex -- with women landing in the worst jobs our labor market has to offer, and earning less than men even in the exact same jobs. Our economy can only thrive when opportunities are equally available regardless of gender or race."


Monday, June 15


Plans are in the works to move the Acadian Bus Lines terminal, currently conveniently located in downtown Fredericton, to an out of the way location on Woodside Lane (just off the Hanwell Road).

The Fredericton Chapter of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick invites you to a town hall meeting to share your views on this proposal. The meeting will take place at the Fredericton Public Library from 7-9 on Wednesday, June 17th.

Mayor Woodside, city councillors, and Acadian Bus representatives have all been invited to attend and hear what we have to say. Let them know that keeping the terminal in the downtown core is of utmost importance!

Also, check out this website and sign the petition:

Friday, June 12

Missing woman: Violet Heathen


Attached is information about a missing woman, Violet Heathen, from Saskatchewan. Violet’s family and friends have asked to have this information circulated. Please distribute widely.

Violet Marie Heathen
Missing since May 14, 2009
Age: 48
Height: 5’ 7”
Distinguishing features: Tattoo of violets left hand

Anyone with information about Violet’s disappearance is asked to contact the Lloydminster RCMP at (306) 825-635 or the Onion Lake RCMP at (306) 344-5550. To leave an anonymous tip call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

There is a group about Violet’s disappearance on Facebook at:


The Sisters In Spirit initiative is a research, education and policy initiative designed to address the high numbers of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada. Through the Sisters In Spirit initiative, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) works to honour the women and girls who have been lost to violence and remember those still missing.

Thursday, June 11

The Dangers of Knowing: Boy or Girl?

This article came through my inbox this morning, and I have to blog about it - there are so many things wrong with it, I don't even know where to begin.

The article talks about an at-home test you can take to determine whether your soon-to-be baby is a boy or a girl. First, I have a huge problem with the gender binary. What if your child doesn't identify as a boy or a girl once they have some time to think about it? What then?

Mostly, however, it unimpresses me greatly that people still want to know the sex of their child before it is born. What difference can it possibly make? The article mentions, TWICE, the need to know "pink or blue" (presumably referring to the child's clothing, room decor, etc.). Really? Really? I personally find our need to assign gender-specific colours to our babies incredibly weird. What would happen if you put your daughter in a blue nursery? Would she be damaged beyond repair?

From the article:

Manufacturer IntelliGender advertises the Boy or Girl Gender Prediction Test as “a fun way to discover more about your baby and share the news of pink or blue as early as possible.”

Besides the offensive "pink or blue" notion, there is the idea that the news of the baby's sex needs to be shared "as early as possible". Who cares? When someone tells you the news that they're having a boy, you would be excited for them, yes? Wouldn't you have the exact same reaction if it was a girl? So why on earth does it matter - wouldn't you rather know that the baby is healthy?

The other issue the article brings up is sex-selective abortion. Which, while appalling, has got to be better than sex-selective infantacide, yes? Wouldn't we rather that people disposed to this kind of behaviour found out the baby's sex as early as possible? It's a gruesome thought, I know. But what really bothers me about articles like this, and 99% of articles on sex-selective abortion, is that they refuse to acknowledge that the actual act of sex selection (whether through abortion, infantacide or neglect) is only a symptom of the problem. It cannot be stopped by outlawing abortion (or requiring a reason fitting with the doctor's standards). The root of the problem is quite obviously the cultural attitude towards women. If men and women are not equal, and especially if it is to a family's economic benefit to only have boy children, of course the problem will exist. It has little, if anything, to do with the availability of tests like this (and other sex-determining medical tests) or abortion and everything to do with the need/desire to do away with girls in the first place.


Weekly Feminist Photo!

Greetings Friends,
Today welcomes the introduction of the Weekly Feminist Photo, which shall be posted on Thursdays from now on. I hope to create a pretty nice archive of funny, inspiring, and thought provoking photos/comics/artwork with small profiles attached. If you see a photo that you'd like to see posted/written about, email with "Weekly Feminist Photo" in the subject line.

This photo comes from The Dreams for Women 2009 Calendar project (link), created and distributed by Antigone Magazine (link).

Dreams for Women started as a postcard project where people created something that responded to the question: What is your dream for women?

It then developed into a calendar, a series of videos, an exhibit in the International Museum of Women, and now submissions can be found at Confabulous (link), a fantastically feminist blog written by women in Canada.

Want to send in a submission? Mail it to -
Antigone Magazine
Box 61 – 6138 SUB Blvd
Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z1
OR antigonemagazine(at)

Tuesday, June 9

The Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre

As you may already know, on Saturday, June 14th, the NB Rebelles will be having a large community yard sale! Click here for more details.

Half of our proceeds are going towards the Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre (link), and I thought it might be nice to share some more information about that organization.

The Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre was formed in the summer of 1975 as a result of local community concern regarding the need for sexual assault services. By January 1976, with a grant and support of volunteers, the Centre was able to offer a 24-hour phone service which still continues today with funding from various sources.

This line is an amazing resource for the community, offering information and support to all callers, as well as the option of accompaniment services for callers in the Fredericton area who choose to go to the hospital or police station following an assault.

You can become involved by:

* supporting the centre - all donations are tax deductible and gratefully accepted
* becoming a volunteer (email
* inviting us them address your group (contact the same email shown above)

Please come out to the yard sale on Saturday, or contact prior to that to arrange a drop-off for items that you wish to donate. It's going towards a great cause!

Information has been adapted from and from the authors experience.

Monday, June 8

Interesting Twitter Study Findings

"Researchers followed a random sample of more than 300,000 Twitter users in May 2009 to find out how people are using the service...

The study ... looked at who follows whom on the network. It found the average man was almost twice as likely to follow another man than a woman, while the average woman was 25 per cent more likely to follow a man than a woman.

"These results are stunning, given what previous research has found in the context of online social networks," the study said.

On a typical network, most of the activity is focused around women, with men following content produced by women they do and do not know and women following content produced by women they know. Generally, men get comparatively little attention from other men or from women, the study said.

Researchers said one explanation for men finding the content produced by women less compelling may be the lack of photo sharing, biographies and similar material found on other social networks."

Sunday, June 7

Yard Sale - Sat. June 13th

NB Rebelles present:
A community yard sale

Saturday, June 13th, 2009
8am to 1pm

Two locations:
278 Church St. and 295 University Ave.

Half of the money raised will be donated to the Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre (FSACC).

Wednesday, June 3

Fredericton Vigil for Dr. George Tiller

Where: Fredericton, NB
When: Saturday, June 6, 2009
Time: 9:30pm
Location: Fredericton Morgentaler Clinic (554 Brunswick St.)

On Sunday, May 31st, 2009 at around 10:00am, Dr. George Tiller was shot to death at the church he attended in Wichita, Kansas.

Dr. Tiller was an abortion provider, one of a very small number of doctors who provided late-term abortions. Dr. Tiller was a kind, compassionate, intelligent and gentle person who had the courage to go to work every day to provide abortion care to women with nowhere else to go. He endured constant threats and attacks on his physical safety, including being shot previously.

Dr. Tiller dedicated his life to helping women. He saved many, many lives. His murder is a blow to his family and friends, his community, the women he helped and those he had yet to help, and to the international pro-choice community. He will be greatly missed.

We wish to gather together peacefully to remember and honour Dr. George Tiller. We also stand together against the continued marginalization of women’s reproductive rights in New Brunswick. We stand in solidarity against this province’s illegal abortion policies and restrictions, and against our own Minister for Health, Michael Murphy, who has stated publicly that he is “not entirely comfortable” fulfilling his role as health minister because of his anti-choice views.

We wish to come together as peaceful pro-choice people, to remember and celebrate Dr. George Tiller, and to stand against the continued restrictions to abortion care. We insist on abortion on demand, no exceptions, no apologies. We will support women in their choices, we will stand in solidarity with abortion providers, clinic staff and volunteers, and we will not give in to threats, violence and terrorism.

Please join us for a peaceful vigil on Saturday, June 6th, beginning at 9:30pm outside the Morgentaler Clinic (554 Brunswick Street). Everyone is welcome. We will walk together to City Hall.

Spread the word.

“Attitude is everything” – Dr. George Tiller.

Government of Canada to amend Indian Act in wake of landmark BC ruling

"On April 6, 2009, the British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled that certain registration provisions of the Indian Act are unconstitutional as they violate the equality provision of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms...

The ruling stems from a civil law suit that Sharon McIvor launched in October 1989, in her bid to acquire Indian status for herself and her son. She claimed that section 6 of the Indian Act was discriminatory in that it treated the descendants of Indian women who married non-Indian men differently from the descendants of Indian men who married non-Indian women."

Backgrounder - McIvor: an Overview

"From 1869 to 1985, an Indian woman who married a non-Indian man would lose her status as an Indian under the Indian Act and her children were not entitled to status. However, an Indian man who married a non-Indian woman would retain his status and his wife and children would gain status. Moreover, if a child's mother and paternal grandmother did not have a right to Indian status other than by virtue of having married Indian men, the child had status only up to the age of 21(commonly referred to as the Double Mother Rule)."