Blog

On rape culture and what Heather MacDonald doesn’t understand about sexual violence

CBC Radio’s Q with Jian Ghomeshi hosted a debate on the term “rape culture” yesterday, which could have actually been interesting and productive, had producers made better choices in terms of how they framed the conversation. I do consider “rape culture” to be a useful and accurate way of describing the way in which sexual ...
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Blog

Why defend Woody Allen?

Dylan Farrow, Mia Farrow’s daughter, recently published an account of the sexual abuse she allegedly experienced at the hands of Woody Allen. I have to say “allegedly,” I guess, because that’s what we have to do when the accused was never charged. Of course, as those of us who have known abusers and abuse (and ...
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Blog

On ‘gendered violence’ and remembering the Montreal Massacre

Today is December 6. Twenty four years ago, 14 women were murdered at École Polytechnique in Montreal by a man who shouted: “You’re all a bunch of feminists, and I hate feminists!” Today is also the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Though some have been commenting on “gendered violence” or “gender-based ...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Sexual assaults on campus, sexual harassment on public transit — Women confront rape culture in public spaces

A string of sexual assaults were reported recently at UBC. The University has responded by expanding Safewalk services and has issued a number of warnings that women not walk alone at night. Some female students have organized a Take Back the Night rally and march in order to raise consciousness, share stories and challenge rape ...
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Blog

We ain’t sayin’ she a gold digger: On Kasi Perkins as “the catalyst” to her own death & holding the media accountable

Coverage of the murder of Kasandra (Kasi) Perkins by NFL linebacker Jovan Belcher has been incredibly brutal over the past few days as we bear witness to mainstream news sources rushing to defend Belcher’s character and erase any whiff of ‘male violence’ or ‘domestic abuse’ from the conversation. Most media that covered the story over ...
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Blog

It’s not about you: Beyond ‘kink-shaming’

Let’s just start by saying this: I really don’t care about ‘kink’ or about ‘kinky people’. It just doesn’t interest me. I don’t give a shit about your leather fetish. Really. But because I recently dared to suggest that RCMP officer Jim Brown’s sadomasochistic behaviour might, just might, be related to the fact that we ...
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A history of oppression: Canada, colonialism, and prostitution

This article was written for and originally published on June 15, 2012 in Issue #106 of Megaphone Magazine: Vancouver’s Street Paper Sex trade law has occupied the forefront of feminist debate ever since an historic legal challenge to Bedford v. Canada was filed in 2007. The case argued that existing laws that criminalized pimping, public ...
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Rape Relief v. Nixon, transphobia, and the value of women-only space: An interview with Lee Lakeman

Although the Nixon v. Rape Relief case was settled back in 2007, with a dismissal of Kimberly Nixon’s request to appeal the B.C. Court of Appeals decision (that decision being that “Vancouver Rape Relief has the right to prefer to train women who have never been treated as anything but female”), the case continues to ...
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Being anti-state does not equal being pro-freedom: Misogyny and the imagined "Circle of Protection" in progressive communities

This post is not intended to be a blind celebration of the police. Let’s not pretend as though the police are not largely representative of  white male power and authority. But that does not mean I am anti-criminalization or anti-state. As feminists and as women, we need the state on our side. When I read ...
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My response to the Simone de Beauvoir Institute's statement on the Bedford decision and on prostitution law in Canada

The Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia University  is “a college of Concordia University dedicated to studying feminisms and questions of social justice.” It is, essentially, the Women’s Studies Department at Concordia University. Following the Bedford v. Canada decision, they released a statement “applauding” the ruling. Here is the response I sent earlier today: I ...
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Safer strolls: A new, progressive way to blame the victim?

You want to talk victim-blaming? Ok. Let’s talk victim blaming. The Toronto Sun published an article on March 11th entitled: “Helping Hookers Stay Safe” which looked at a project called the safer stroll project. According to the article, this project is an “innovative mentorship program…designed to educate sex workers to deal with high-risk and violent ...
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