Thursday, February 17, 2011

No More Institutionally Inflicted Violence on the York Campus


By now I'm sure most of you have read the article or heard word.

(Essentially during a "campus safety information session" a Toronto Police officer suggested that to not get raped, you should "not dress like a slut".)

What I'm proposing is ACTION done in regards to this. 

While an apology may come about, what an apology does is BASICALLY say - "we can continue to enact any type of verbal violence we want to - and WILL do so. IF we get caught or if ENOUGH noise is made, we'll rescind on the statement."

 So yes - I'm choosing to call this an ACT OF VIOLENCE - it is not a "mistake", an "error", a "surprise", an "oversight" as the various bodies will try to frame it. 

Regardless of the' how', the end result is YET ANOTHER  hateful, misogynistic, disgusting message sent out into the York university campus, the city surrounding. another piece of violence which works to further disarm, degrade, and debase.

As a York student, I'm exhausted to say the least. Exhausted that despite ALL OF WHAT HAS OCCURRED - that there is STILL another case of where sexual violence and hate crime is NOT TREATED PROPERLY. 

Can York get some more research up in here? Can they maybe take one less annoying, accosting corporate schmoe who somehow manages to accost us daily as we try to get some education - and train them to do proper research? 

Perhaps they can share this researcher with the Toronto Police - and he can pick a better person to send to teach students about "CAMPUS SAFETY"? 

As someone with a brain and eyes, I can't even begin to discuss how outrageous, how IRONIC, and how flat-out outdated this violence was. (occuring during a "campus safety" speech. Ironically, this guy ended up causing more violence than he did safety.) 

As a Toronto citizen, I expect better of the police force that my money goes towards. I expect that the force which represents one of the most diverse communities on the planet (and here I'm not simply referring to race/colour) has the wherewithal, intelligence, and insight to better train their staff, and to better PICK the staff who will represent them.

As someone who champions intelligence and logic, I bemoan the fact that York University and the Toronto Police are becoming SUPERSTARS at grossly misinformed, misaligned actions that do nothing but further inflict systemic violence upon their own people. That they are actually not taking extra efforts to say - "hmm, why do I have such a horrible reputation among my own community members" and try to ADDRESS and FIX this the core reasons.

YES this was on the part of the Toronto Police - but I would expect York to make a better effort on this - perhaps get a copy of the speech the police officer would say, perhaps be present when they pick an officer to speak, etc.

This is not an isolated incident. Here we have York championing their "SAFETY AWARENESS' with phrases like "OWN IT! [your safety]", which let us know in bright font that YES - YORK IS LETTING YOU KNOW, ANY CRIME COMMITTED WAS THE FAULT OF THE VICTIM! 

Then we have York making the "oopsie" of sanctioning advertisement by one of the Vanier rapists. Oops! they said.

What we really have here is the end result of an entire pathway of cognitiion laden with misogyny, hate, ignorance - the type of mind that wouldn't think to research into a company before throwing up their ad for a body of over 60,000 people to see.

We've experienced ENOUGH violence done by the so called benevolent rulers we submit to.

I'd like everyone to please imagine - imagine the feeling that one of the victims of the Vanier rapes would have felt, walking through her campus and coming across the ad for the "Live Green" card. I'd like you to imagine how a person who experienced sexual assault would feel when a body of authority tells her in a place of "higher learning" - it was your fault. 

With these actions, whether intentional or not, these institutional bodies rendered a feeling of worthlessness, of vile disgust within these people.
With this action, the Toronto police officer ERASED the systemic reasons for rape, violence, hate crimes.
He ERASED all the violence, hateful remarks, disgusted looks experienced by ANY body of marginalization. 

With an action, I hope we can restore at least a smidgeon of the respect lost for victims of sexual assault that day. 

With action, we can make VISIBLE again the people who have experienced assault and rape on campuses, only to be told it was their fault, be left in the dirt by their administration and their police force. 

If we are to define a person who is a "slut" as one who "demeans themselves before a source of power", I'd like to posit that when this officer brought his disgusting, bile-filled, ignorant, hateful, woman-bashing words onto our campus, he let us know that he's a "slut" - a slut to archaic notions, to stupidity, to the institutions which have disciplined and regulated bodies since their inception.

If we are to define someone who is a slut as one who "asks to get fucked", I'd like to posit that when this officer opened his mouth , he made himself a slut - because I'm about to fuck him up so hard.


I'm asking for us to band together - in the name of all the REPORTED cases of violence (verbal, physical, metaphorical, spiritual, etc)  in Toronto and at York, in the name of all the UNREPORTED, IGNORED, TOSSED-ASIDE, DOWNPLAYED cases of violence.

What can we do?
- What I think would really make noise and help solifidy our message is a PROTEST: this can be through a constant barrage of letters sent each and every day to the 31 Division,or  can be a organized protest in FRONT of the 31 Division and/or at York. SIGNS, banners, etc with facts about rape (real facts, something the officer apparently does not know about); a neverending ASSAULT on the police station who trained him and the officer himself.

- This needs to be a PHYSICAL protest. Mulling about in our groups and talking on facebook will only have limited effect; we've got enough momentum that it can translate into real, powerful, message-sending people power.
- Please spread the word to people on/off campus, people who don't live in the city but have friends who do, etc. Please talk about this act of violence on your blog, on your twitter, to your local volunteer group, etc.

Letting this one slide only works to reinforce this officer's beliefs, letting him know he's in the 'right'. It's just unfortunate that in this day we still have to deal with this type of ignorance. Yet, we very much do have to deal with it in our day-to day lives, and thus letting the systemic sources of our fuckin oppression know that it's not going to pass this time is something we've got to take up. 

Please contact me or leave a message here if you are interested in taking part in this protest.

- Alyssa 

facebook: Alyssa T

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