Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Serial Rapist at York University – Failure of Warning Protocols

Recently, while reading the Metro on my way to work I caught a glimpse of a tiny article in the corner of the paper.  

My mental warning signs instantly went off as I read the title of the article to state that police were only ‘warning’ women on campus about the four assaults that took place at the York University Village.  

How on earth Toronto police services could only be warning female students about rapes that have been going on since September of this year really beats me. 
Let us please not forget about the rapes which go unreported due to the complexities of legal structures within the university itself...

After this article was published I later learned that only one male was brought into questioning, and is believed to have been charged.

Are you fucking kidding me?

Through the fantastic, passionate work of Jane Doe which began after her disgusting ‘stranger danger’ rape in 1989; it's become a part of standard police code in Canada to have to legally warn women when rapes are a ‘threat to the community.’ 

But who defines this threat? 

Obviously the patriarchal forces of power since women were not warned about this serial rapist in the village until two months after the first rape had been committed.

Why why why is it taking us two months to warn women about a serial rapist? 

Why are we not progressing with these ‘warning’ protocols? 

1989 after all, was 21 years ago.
After learning about this information my fellow feministas and I began to conduct some research about rapes to see what, if any, information was available on the Toronto Police website.  

While doing this research, one of my good friends discovered that this was not an isolated event... 

Apparently as of October 8th 2010 numerous muggings have also taken place on the York campus, some involving a weapon and some without.

As our action item, my friends and I began to poster around campus and saw the shock on people’s faces as they read through this information.   

York security services had not yet posted this vital information onto campus billboards as of yet.

Having said this, within universities, community centers, support groups, conversations, the community (any many more societal structures) we still seem to be looking at violence against women from a crisis prevention perspective, which can be seen in the handing of this serial rapist.   

While I am not denying how great of an impact this work can have; I am not so convinced that this is necessarily stopping violence per say.   

It may be that it's helping those who experience the culture of violence in their lives, but not dismantling it from happening from the breadth of society. 

I think that It's from within this discourse that we see the common conceptualizations of ideas like;

Why don't we teach women's self defense? 

As my roommate would observe, what is going to happen with this a rapist comes up to us and we say, "Stop! I know wen do!"

Then, the rapist will proclaim "Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry I didn’t realize you know self defense, I’ll catch the next one, thanks for your time."  

Why don't we host a discussion forum about the said violence so we could look at what's really going on?

What about writing an article in the newspaper about the prevalence of violence against women?
While these methods are incredibly important, I feel that they do not do enough to dismantle the structures of violence.

In order for that to happen, we need to drastically change discourse in and around these cultures.

That is, we need to look at who is raping women. 

We need to look at why women are being raped and live in a culture of rape (i.e. passive gender roles, societal structures etc.,) 

From there, we need to work with all genders (categorical identifications I know but for sake of argument I choose to use it here) in order to change the role sex plays within our society.   

We need to give beings the tools to EMPOWER, EDUCATE, DISMANTLE in order to successfully dismantle cultures of violence.

I think that it is only until feminists, activists, politicians, and the mainstream public begin to look at the construction of this discourse that idea of language will change and dismantling will begin.

We've done all we can within the legal structures.  

Let’s work from the bottom up, from the root. 

Let’s examine what is really going on. 

In Solidarity,

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing, I will bookmark and be back again...