The long awaited Manual for Community-Based Service Providers in Fort St. John who Work with Women and Families who Experience Violence has finally arrived. We would like to thank all of the Service Providers who have collaborated with us to produce this Manual.
Please download a copy of the Service Manual from the link below.
The recent slaughtering of two women and four men by Elliot Rodger in Isla Vista, California, has incited a great deal of discussion and debate. Rodger’s crime, a pre-meditated act drawn out of the misogynistic thoughts of a disturbed young man, was detailed in his manifesto and described in a chilling YouTube video published online. Rodger’s primary motive for the crime was to “punish” the young women (whom he abjectly calls “girls”) who refused his advances and left him “to rot in loneliness” and to remain a virgin. His vendetta extended to the the young men whom he claimed were the ones the women chose, instead of him.The discussion of the killings appears to be spread in multiple directions. On the one hand, it is clear that Rodger suffered from mental illness. On the other, his crime was motivated by a deep hatred of women. The crime raises questions about mental health, the men’s rights movement, feminism, gun control, and how these intersect and whether or not such events can be prevented. I watched many of my own friends engage in the #notallmen and #yesallwomen hashtagging campaigns and debate the many issues at play.
A few observations about the case:
First: It is clear that Rodger was both a misogynist and mentally ill. However, it is important to point out that not all misogynists are dealing with mental illness. We also ought to distinguish between misogyny and the subordination or oppression of women. The latter is something that happens every day and is engrained into cultures, economies, and social systems. Misogyny is more extreme – a real hatred of all women, often the motivation for mass murders, as with the 1989 killings at L’Ecole Polytechnique. Feminism seeks to dismantle both, but tends to focus its energy on the everyday practices and systems that devalue or subordinate women. Unfortunately, “feminism” is still commonly viewed as a loaded term, with feminists often believed to be “man-haters” (misandrists), which is an unfortunate mischaracterization (and the subject of my next blog post).
Second: Elliot Rodger engaged in victim-blaming. In his manifesto and in his YouTube video describing his plans, Rodger accuses women of leaving him to “rot in loneliness”. I find it interesting that few sources reporting on the crime are taking the opportunity to critique this claim. Instead of taking responsibility for his relationship with women, Rodger lays the blame on women. According to him, they deserved to be killed as punishment for not being attracted to him. This kind of attitude is not uncommon amongst victim blamers. Instead of working on his relationship with women, say, by improving communication skills and pursuing continued therapy, Rodger takes zero responsibility for his crime, and instead blamed his victims.
Third: This crime could have been prevented. In his comment on the killings, Matt Gurney notes that indeed, such tragedies are preventable. Rodger was being treated by therapists for his mental illness, and even Rodger’s mother had expressed concerns about her son’s disturbing online videos. The video describing his plan was posted on YouTube the night before the event. Yet, despite such a history, Rodger was able to secure firearms and carry out his attack, largely as planned.
Fourth: There is no easy explanation. The fact is, the reason these events took place cannot be reduced to a simple explanation of either mental illness, misogyny, a lack of self-confidence, access to firearms, or the failure of “the system”, allowing cases like Elliot Rodger’s to slip through the cracks. Like many targeted mass killings, the explanations are multifaceted and complex. Sociologically, we might be inclined to describe such crimes as “intersecting” in the sense that in such hate crimes we often see these factors hanging together. Continuing conversations about all of these issues are critical to grieving these social losses and working towards preventing them in the future.
The murders at Isla Vista are undeniably tragic. However, what they have given us is the much-needed opportunity to bring many of these issues to the public eye. The sheer amount of attention brought to the #yesallwomen and #notallmen shows that these issue are hitting both social media and mass media headlines. The Peace Project is committed to continuing these conversations as a means to understand and prevent violence against women.
Preventing violence against women and girls relies heavily on educating the community why gender-based violence is unacceptable. As well, letting community members know where to to seek help is critical in giving survivors of violence the tools to leave an abusive relationship.
If you or anyone you know is at risk of experiencing violence, here are some key community service providers who can offer immediate support:
- Fort St. John R.C.M.P.
- Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society
- Community Bridge Society (formerly North Peace Community Resource Society)
- Fort St. John Keeginaw Friendship Society
- Nenan Dane zaa Deh Zona Children and Family Services
- Fort St. John Ministry of Children and Family Development
- Fort St. John Mental Health and Addiction Services
Making the decision to leave an abusive relationship is extremely difficult. The Canadian Women’s Foundation website presents facts about violence against women, including why it’s so difficult to leave abuse. To find out more, CLICK HERE.
Let’s work together to end violence against women and girls in Fort St. John. To find out how you can help, CLICK HERE.
To celebrate amazing male mentors in our community, we’re asking participants to record a thirty second video about male role models who’ve made a difference in their lives. So far, we’ve recorded over fifty videos and heard amazing stories about dads, step-dads, grandpas, sons, brothers, husbands, and teachers.
The video will be posted on our website in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
To access, “The Peace Project: Gender Based Analysis of Violence against Women and Girls in Fort St. John”, click here.
To access the Peace Project Community plan, click here.
For more information, contact us here.
As the website explains, “The Everyday Sexism project aims to take a step towards gender equality, by proving wrong those who tell women that they can’t complain because we are equal. It is a place to record stories of sexism faced on a daily basis, by ordinary women, in ordinary places.”
To find out more and/or to add your story, CLICK HERE.
This is a call to Aboriginal men in all communities across the country to spread the word, hold their own campaigns in the spirit of brotherhood, and to protect our sisters, aunties, grandmothers, mothers, and daughters from violence.”
The awareness campaign uses pins made of moose hide scraps with the campaign logo or other image to promote ending violence against Aboriginal women.
To find out more, CLICK HERE.
“loveisrespect.org” includes lots of advice, especially for youth and young adults, about love, respect and healthy relationships. There’s information on dating basics, like recognizing abuse that isn’t physical, setting boundaries, and some terminology around LGBQT relationships.
Their easy-to-use website also has a series of quizzes to find out whether or not you are in a healthy relationship and how to help others who are experiencing abuse.
To find out more, CLICK HERE.
Rock and Roll Literacy is operated by the author of the Orca Echoes series, Sigmund Brouwer. According to the website, “he brings his unique sense of play to the serious business of learning to read and write. Armed with music, humor and heart, he connects the dots for people who work with kids to cultivate reading and writing skills.”
For more information about resources, CLICK HERE.
On their website they explain, “Growing Voices customizes donations through gifting items specific to each project and its needs. All items are locally purchased and distributed. Our goal is to give the donor the power to oversee where and how their donation is spent. In addition, it relieves the cost of international shipping and supports recipient businesses within communities.”
Growing Voices partners with DANA (Domestic Abuse is Not Acceptable), an organization that assists victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in North Carolina. Visitors to the Growing Voices site are encouraged to “gift” gas and grocery cards, DVDs, diapers, etc. that help clients at DANA.
To find out more, CLICK HERE.