For 45 minutes on Dec. 6, 1989 an enraged gunman roamed the corridors of Montreal's École Polytechnique and killed 14 women. Marc Lepine, 25, separated the men from the women and before opening fire on the classroom of female engineering students he screamed, "I hate feminists." Almost immediately, the Montreal Massacre became a galvanizing moment in which mourning turned into outrage about all violence against women. December 6th is now commemorated in Canada as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Twenty-five years after the Montreal Massacre, the Montreal Gazette interviews four of the survivors: Jocelyne Dallaire Légaré, Heidi Rathjen, Nathalie Provost and Michèle Thibodeau-DeGuire. [more inside]
The Dangers of the Monster Myth In 2012 Jill Meaghar was murdered. Today, her husband, Tom Meaghar speaks out about the dangers of the "monster myth". "I dreamed for over a year of how I would like to physically hurt this man, and still often relish the inevitable manner of his death, but wouldn’t it be more beneficial for Jill’s memory, and other women affected by violence to focus on the problems that surround our attitudes, our legal system, our silence rather than focusing on what manner we would like to torture and murder this individual? Adrian Bayley murdered a daughter, a sister, a great friend to so many, and my favourite person. I am the first one who wants to see him vilified and long may he be one of Australia’s most hated people, but it only does any good if this example highlights rather than obscures the social issues that surround men’s violence against women
School violence prevention programs typically focus on risk-reduction by teaching girls not to be victims and boys not to be rapists, with no other roles to play. Even though bystander intervention not a new concept, some schools, advocacy groups and corporations are pushing it with renewed vigor in an effort to deter violence.
The goal is to challenge perceptions of "normal behavior" and make teens aware of the nuanced interactions that create a hostile climate. It could be as simple as diverting a friend's attention when he hollers at a girl on the street, encouraging your sister to talk to her boyfriend instead of secretly checking his texts, sneaking off to call 911 when the popular guys start messing with a girl who's barely conscious.[more inside]
'I'm sick of being ashamed." Three days ago, an anti-harassment activist said those words to me in a flat above Cairo's Tahrir square, as she pulled on her makeshift uniform ready to protect women on the protest lines from being raped in the street. Only days before, I'd heard exactly the same words from pro-choice organisers in Dublin, where I travelled to report on the feminist fight to legalise abortion in Ireland. I had thought that I was covering two separate stories – so why were two women from different countries and backgrounds repeating the same mantra against fear, and against shame?[more inside]
Between 40 and 50 percent of female homicide victims are killed by their husbands, boyfriends, and exes. And, for about half of these victims, police had been alerted to previous incidents of abuse. There is, however, one exception to this grim trend: Maryland. Since 2007, domestic violence homicides in the state have fallen by a stunning 40 percent. What is Maryland doing that other states are not? The answer appears to lie with a former high school nurse, an ex-Washington, D.C., police lieutenant, and their ground-breaking efforts to protect the most vulnerable victims of abuse.—Fighting Back is an article by Tim Stelloh about new method to identify and protect abused women, developed by a group of law enforcement officers and academics (Note: The article features graphic descriptions of domestic violence and murder). The article focuses especially on the work of Prof. Jacquelyn Campbell. You can watch an interview with her here.
"Yesterday, I went to court. I was there for the sentencing of the man who spent this summer stalking me." [more inside]
Alone Among the Ghosts is an essay from The Nation by Marcela Valdez about Roberto Bolaño's 2666. She interviews journalist Sergio González Rodríguez, who has written extensively about the murders of women in Ciudad Juárez which is the black hole Bolaño's novel orbits around. The journalist was Bolaño's correspondent and main source of information about the femicides. The best English language article about the epidemic of violence in Ciudad Juárez I have read is Max Blumenthal's 2002 Salon article. The website No Angel Came is a good resource for more info on the subject, including a continually updated section with links to articles about the killings. The site's most arresting section is the list of every woman killed in Ciudad Juárez from 1993 to 2006. The epidemic of violence against women in Ciudad Juárez continues.
The Vagina Monologues is, to the outrage of many, being staged at a cultural center in Kampala, Uganda, East Africa. For the past few weeks, the play has been a key topic of debate, with many radio stations even refusing to utter the name of the play out loud, and shaming call-in listeners that do. Today, the local media council announced that “to the extent that the play promotes illegal, unnatural sexual acts, homosexuality and prostitution, it should be and is hereby banned, citing the play as "a smokescreen for graphic lesbian pornography" and that the play's "graphic descriptions of masturbation, rape, and genital mutilation in a manner that is “abhorrent, outrageous and disgusting." Local NGOs are even refusing to accept funds generated by the sale of tickets.