Sunday, December 6

20 Years Ago (and today)

A link round-up with quotes:
Nathalie Provost, a Dec 6th Survivor (link):
Nathalie Provost yelled "We are not feminists" as Marc Lépine sprayed her and her classmates with bullets. Today, the engineer and mother of four says: "I realized many years later that in my life and actions, of course I was a feminist. I was a woman studying engineering and I held my head up."
A speech delivered by Megan Leslie, Halifax MP, last year (link, via):
But the question we don’t let ourselves ask is what.
What is it about our culture that made the shooter blame “feminists” for all his troubles?
What is it going to take to change things?
What can I do?

The answer to these questions is unsettling, because it makes us face uncomfortable facts:
We live in a culture of casual misogyny.
We live in a culture that pays attention to women most often when it wants to berate us, blame us, or compare us to each other.
And we don’t do enough to fight it.
Like when hundreds of Aboriginal women go missing.
When the word “equality” is taken out of the Status of Women mandate.
When victims of violence are referred to in the media as “hookers” and “junkies” rather than “women” or even “people”.
We need to do better than this.
We need to call out sexist behavior, even if it causes social friction to do so.
We need to support women who are working to create and reflect a culture of non-violence and possibility.
We need to tell the media that they won’t talk us into hating ourselves and each other.
We need to remind our government that women count.
We need to look after each other, and ourselves.
Judy Rebick reflects and calls for action (link):
... while there is a societal consensus against male violence against women today, that violence goes on unabated particularly against marginalized women like those disappeared on the downtown east side in Vancouver or the hundreds of aboriginal women who are disappeared and murdered without much attention from police, or the virtual slavery of desperate women trafficked into prostitution on a global scale.

The best way to remember these fourteen women is recommit ourselves, women and men, to the fight for women’s liberation and an end to violence against women. On Sunday there will once against be vigils across the country. Remember them and then organize.
Jessica Yee, The next generation - and what women sometimes forget - on December 6th (link):
Yes, I’m from the next generation of women who were too young to remember when the murders actually took place, but I suppose I belong to the current generation of women who identify themselves with feminist politics and have heard from the foremothers of this movement in Canada about the significance of remembering the day, and to never forget it. They say, “Women Won’t Forget” on December 6th. But as a young, sex working, multiracial, bisexual, two-spirited, Aboriginal woman, I think that sometimes, especially at these December 6th type events, women DO forget a few things.

Sometimes women forget that as Aboriginal women, we are five times more likely to die of violence than any other race of women in Canada, and that women have been going missing and have been murdered in our communities by the thousands, for hundreds of years.

Women forget that while we show up to vigils and talk up a nice speech about some “poor prostitute” who died on the streets, we simultaneously judge, shun, and degrade current sex workers and speak against decriminalization - something that might actually help to protect us.

Sometimes, women forget that same-sex violence should be taken as seriously as man to woman violence and that we really don’t talk about violence in the queer community as often as we could.

Women forget that Elder violence is very real and is happening, but also that a lot of it is committed against young women, who deserve the opportunity to speak for ourselves as youth, not be spoken for by yet another generation of first or second wave feminists who don’t want to give up their power from the old days yet.
As a response to the Montreal Massacre, the federal government set up a gun registry, and now:
Stephen Hume, Scrapping long-gun registry is pandering to vocal minority (link):
Will Canadians ignore the irony of Parliament scrapping the long-gun registry ... The biggest risk for Harper's Conservatives will be how women react, since women are predominantly victims of murder by long gun, a fact conveniently overlooked in mostly male anger over the registry.

[...] statistics show clearly that women are more likely to be murdered with a long gun than with a handgun.

These statistics tell us that the decision by parliamentarians to scrap the long-gun registry is ideologically based pandering to a self-serving myth held by a minority of Conservatives and amplified by intense lobbying from a special interest group.

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