On April 3, 2011, the first SlutWalk took place in Toronto, Canada. As an attendee that year, I didn't know what to expect that day, and it's fair to say that nobody really did. Now, two years later, we're marking the International Day Against Victim-Blaming. We don't have all the answers to ending rape or victim-blaming. We also don't know what the future holds for SlutWalk Toronto. Whether you agree with SlutWalk or not, whether you think sexual violence is your problem or not, consider that at least 1 in 3 women and girls and 1 in 6 men and boys will experience sexual violence in their lifetimes.
Colleen Westendorf joined SlutWalk Toronto as in Organizer in June 2011shortly after participating in the inaugural Toronto SlutWalk.She also volunteers for a pro-choice, LGBTQ-positive sexual health clinic as a sex educator and is committed to anti-discrimination, sex-positivity and sexual and reproductive health rights as fundamental human rights. By profession, Colleen is a writer and communications professional who works and lives in Toronto.
Many people in Toronto right now have opinions about the actions of TTC driver Dino Oroc stopping his streetcar and chasing someone who allegedly sexually assaulted a passenger of his on the 501 route. I was glad to hear that he has been reinstated as a driver after being placed on temporary suspension.
11/16/2012 05:42 EST
MP Rob Anders is currently objecting to Bill C279, that would enshrine the same rights for trans people that everyone else (in theory) already is entitled to. He claims that "the bill's goal is to give transgendered men access to women's washrooms. Contrary to Anders' feeble attempts to narrow the discussion, bill C279 is about much more than "bathroom privileges." Moreover, using that kind of transphobic, intentionally myopic language reduces people to body parts. C279 is about filling the gaps in legislation that was designed in intent to prevent discrimination, but currently remains dangerously incomplete.
10/04/2012 05:31 EDT
In an attempt to change customer perceptions, Mark's Work Wearhouse has launched a campaign hinging on the slogan "Now Welcoming Women" (I'm eternally grateful that now I can purchase my own clothing, and maybe even pants! Thank you Mark's!), when they could have chosen a more neutral "new women's lines" or "more women's clothing than ever!"
10/03/2012 12:43 EDT
Wednesday evening was a perilous moment for every person with a uterus in Canada and elsewhere. In a country where we are applauded for not having legal restrictions on abortion, Parliament voted on M312, which was defeated 203-91. Though the motion claimed to be in the interest of equality for everyone, nowhere did the word woman, womb, fetus, uterus, or (heaven forbid) vagina appear in the motion. The person who should have been fighting the hardest Wednesday night was the Minister for the Status of Women, Rona Ambrose. Instead she sucker-punched everyone in this country who hopes and expects to be treated in accordance with their charter rights and as a person, by voting yes.
09/28/2012 08:09 EDT
Last night, Krista Ford, who happens to be the niece of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, tweeted what she seemed to have considered helpful "safety" advice following a Toronto Police press conference re: a recent string of sexual assaults in Toronto. What Krista said was problematic for many reasons. She placed the onus for preventing sexual assault on a potential victim, pointing to clothes as a reason or inciting factor of sexual assault (time and time again proven to be untrue). When anyone says that "dressing like a whore" makes someone liable to be raped, they're blaming existing survivors for their own victimization.
08/30/2012 11:18 EDT
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