Friday, 8 March 2013

International Women's Day 2013

Today is International Women's Day. I'm busy as all get-out, so I just want to briefly pass on events going on in recognition:


The FB page for IWD Toronto can be found here.

And remind everyone why it's still important and relevant to continue to celebrate today and fight for women's rights.


Also, I've just become aware of an American organization that is fighting to end oppression, AIDecomcracy:
What We Do
We educate, empower and mobilize our generation to take informed action around our individual and collective roles as global citizens. 
We debate our roles and individuals, and as a country, in addressing the great challenges facing us today, including poverty, extremism and climate change. 
We focus on harnessing the power of your voice and your vote, but we also explore other pathways to change including service and social entrepreneurship. 
Our approach has three pillars:
  • Education: We help students understand key global challenges, as well as the global system that frames them. Our members are always building and expanding on this conversation, through insightful blog posts and compelling journal articles.
  • Empowerment: We build student leaders and organizers who understand not only the issues, but also their own power, how to organize others, and how to access decision-makers.
  • Mobilization: We create and connect students to opportunities to take action, from the campus to the national level.

They'll soon be reposting my article on rape prevention through breaking down rape culture, "What can I do, right now today, to help stop sexual violence."

Enjoy today, all, and I hope it treats you all kindly.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Part of the solution: Providing info on services for men in Toronto

Yesterday morning I caught wind that U of T is going to be hosting an MRA speaker. A friend shared this lovely and daintily-written article on her wall (caution - it goes to A Voice for Men - if you don't want to give them page hits, then you might want to pass):



The baiting part is probably my favourite. This way if counter-protestors show up and are impolite, well by golly, we were "warned" and they can be as violent and vitriolic as they'd like because, heck, why not. If no one shows up, well by golly! They scared us all off! Success!




Not that they could ever hope to harness or emulate the awesome of Freddie Mercury's nipples.

Anyways, as fun as that all is, I've decided that since no one else was up to organizing a counter-presence, I'd arrange one myself. I was at that previous "infamous" counter-protest and I noted that one of the elements missing was an offering of tangible alternatives to people who may get sucked in by such speakers, so I thought I'd set up this event with a different tone and intent. 

From the Facebook event page:

Once again the U of T campus will be playing host to a speaker that relies on sexism and racism as scapegoats for some of the legitimate grievances that men in our society currently face, to forward their bigoted agenda. 
This article gives a thorough background on the speaker coming to campus:
http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/michael-laxer/2013/03/guess-whats-coming-u-t-mens-rights-movement-janice-fiamengo-pau 
Information on the event here, that won't give their page undue hits (it still has info on the old location that has since been updated): 
http://wx.toronto.ca/festevents.nsf/591df5f4e9bb95b0852572ff00502015/8b64bf07cf5bb4d885257b1a00785c5b?OpenDocument 
It can be useful and cathartic to simply protest hate speech on campus, but we recognize that events like this so often take advantage of vulnerable people who are sincerely looking for answers. Let's make this counter-presence a productive one and provide as much information as we can gather and distribute to attendees. 
If anyone has contacts with organizations that support men in Toronto, please post links here to help us distribute them more effectively. Let's work together to make sure the men who are facing hardships are heard and actually given something tangible and constructive to walk away with.

Being reactive can be very useful and appropriate, but I personally want to build up a collection of resources so when these issues continually come to fore (and they will), we'll have some alternatives already on hand. And, just as importantly, if there are gaps in services (as there very likely are), this will give us a good way of finding out what those gaps are. Heck, we might even be able to get the participants at these events on board to help close those gaps and create or expand services within Toronto to support them.


For any readers, please let me know about what services you know of that are available for men in Toronto. I mean any services, such as addiction counselling, housing assistance, suicide intervention, support for survivors of sexual violence, court support, etc. If you know of services that are missing and needed, please let me know that, too. Let's use this opportunity to be productive and address these issues in a real way.