The CASE team attended Take Back the Night and was asked to comment on the event by the Gauntlet. Check out the article here. We would like to thank the organizers for working so hard to put on such an important and empowering event!
While discussing Bill C-36 in the House of Commons on September 23, 2014, the Honourable Michelle Rempel used the Consent Awareness and Sexual Education Club’s work as example of groups who are working to prevent sexual assault. Although it is flattering to see our name mentioned in the House of Commons, and we are thankful for Ms. Rempel’s support, we would like to clarify that we as a group do not support Bill C-36.
Whether or not one wants sex work to happen in Canada, one effect Bill C-36 would have is to further marginalize and criminalize an already marginalized, criminalized group: aboriginal women. According to 2010-2011 reports from Statistics Canada, 41% of federally sentenced women were Aboriginal (more than 10 times their representation in the population). As Aboriginal women are also over-represented in street-level sex work, they are likely to be further criminalized by Bill C-36. If one wishes to decrease the incidence of sex work, helping to fund other opportunities and social support services for the individuals most affected would be far more effective than criminalization.
We also believe it is be necessary to look at the root reasons why some people choose to go into sex work in the first place. For example, when looking at people who enter out of economic necessity, it would be better to try to fix such economic inequalities instead of punishing the sex workers involved - people who are already marginalized within society. Similar statements could be made about helping to support individuals with substance abuse problems, people facing domestic violence, and those who struggle with their mental health. For individuals who go into sex work because it is a profession they choose out of a number of alternatives, allow them their own bodily autonomy and do not criminalize their activities. Conflating all sex work with sexual assault is fallacious.
Finally, the lives and voices of people engaged in street-level sex work should be prioritized in any legislation on the issue. Sex workers come from many different backgrounds and have diverse voices that should all be heard. Criminal restrictions on advertisements for sexual services force solicitation to move underground, and puts sex workers in a vulnerable position and at a greater risk for sexual assault. For these reasons, we do not feel Bill C-36 aligns with our values.
Campus Security has added a new phrase to the footer of their security e-mail alerts, stating, "A victim of crime is not responsible for the actions of a perpetrator." We are thankful to Campus Security for listening to the concerns of student leaders and consulting CASE to find more effective ways to support victims of sexual harassment and assault in this area. If we want to change the way people think about sexual assault, we have to rethink the language we use to talk about it. We are also thankful to the Students' Union for facilitating this important conversation between students and Campus Security.
This story was covered by the Gauntlet and FFWD Weekly.
Campus Security changes e-mail alert language
by Alexander Kim for the Gauntlet
Discussion of sexual assault still needs work
by Chris Adams for the Gauntlet
Crime alerts: U of C changes the way it informs the public
by Suzy Thompson for FFWD Weekly
Our president, Ellen Bolger, along with VP External Emily Leedham were interviewed by U of C newspaper, The Gauntlet, over the sexual assault incident on January 10th at the U of C. Thank you to The Gauntlet for giving considering us as a voice in this situation. Read it here.
We also responded to the campus security report, see below.
CASE VP External Emily Leedham chats with Sean Willet on The Gauntlet Radio's October issue about CASE's mission to educate, how men can get involved in feminism and the club, and why the Men's Rights Movement is counterproductive. Listen here.
CASE President Ellen Bolger was asked to comment on the recent Men's Rights group in Calgary for an article in the Gauntlet.
“I think it’s sad. The people who are joining [Men’s Rights Edmonton] might have good intentions because there are many issues that men do face,” Bolger said. “But I think that the outlet that they are going through is almost dangerous because it is based on facts that aren’t true. It is important for other groups to speak out so that the public can hear the truth instead of just believing what these groups say.”
Joe Campbell from Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse also shared some excellent words:
“Sexual violence is an issue that matters to many Albertans,” Campbell said. “When opinionated groups come forward dispelling nothing more than harmful and misinformed beliefs, those messages really hurt those who have been impacted by these crimes and serve to deepen those opinions and beliefs of people who don’t truly have an understanding of this issue."
Read the full article here.
Interview with Jody Raphael, author of Rape is Rape: How Denial, Distortion and Victim Blaming are Fueling a Hidden Acquaintance Rape Crisis.
On July 22, our VP External Emily Leedham conducted an interview on Calgary's only feminist radio show Yeah, What She Said with Jody Raphael, author of Rape is Rape: How Denial, Distortion and Victim Blaming are Fueling a Hidden Acquaintance Rape Crisis. Jody is a professor of law and specializes in the area of violence against women, including domestic violence, sexual assault and the sex trade industry. The episode is now available as a podcast, which you can listen to here.
You can also order her book online here.
Ending rape culture requires more than just banning offensive chants, but a critical look at the way we construct gender and the values in our society. CASE VP External Emily Leedham wrote an article in the University of Calgary's independent student newspaper, the Gauntlet, highlighting the more nuanced ways to approach the issue. Here's an excerpt:
"In fact, according to the Statistics Canada report cited earlier, 58 per cent of sexual assault victims did not report their experience to the police because they did not feel it was important enough. What we really need to end is not simply rape chants, but trivialization of women’s everyday experiences: the microaggressions, the jokes, the calls for women to calm down and not take things so seriously."
Read the rest here.
Our club president Ellen Bolger had the opportunity to talk with David Gray on the CBC Calgary Eyeopener this morning about CASE and our mission to provide consent education to students in Calgary, both secondary and post-secondary. We are thankful the CBC gave us the opportunity to go into detail about our goals and why we believe our work is so important. Check out the interview here.
CASE was recently featured in the Calgary Metro newspaper. While we are excited that the mainstream media is talking about rape culture, we are also a little disappointed the focus was on short snippets of rape culture evidence instead of focusing on positive activism, which is what we are all about. We believe that sexual assault prevention should focus on creating a culture where consent is asked for and respected instead of "he said, she said" arguments. Hopefully the Metro article will draw more people's attention to the positive work we are trying to accomplish.
You can check out the article here.