Ask Trudeau to publicly call the Toronto attack an "act of (misogynist) terrorism"
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Canada's Criminal Code defines terrorism as an act carried out "for a political, religious or ideological purpose, objective or cause...that intentionally...causes death or serious bodily harm to a person by the use of violence, endangers a person’s life, (or) causes a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or any segment of the public."
On Monday, while I was with fellow women's rights activists somewhat jokingly toasting to "smashing the patriarchy!" people in Toronto were dying at the hands of a man who allegedly killed them because he hated women for rejecting him. If he was Muslim or a refugee, there would be countless racist comments on social media and traditional media describing the attack as terrorism, calling for an end to immigration, demanding deportation, etc. In fact, there are those comments even though the alleged perpetrator is not Muslim.
But when it's misogyny, when this is the second largest terrorist attack on Canadian soil after the Ecole Polytechnique massacre, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said, "The events that happened on the street behind us are horrendous but they do not appear to be connected in any way to national security, based on the information available at this time."
Reports are coming in that the perpetrator was motivated by misogyny and the idea of being “involuntarily celibate.” This is not a new phenomenon. We have consistently seen that the perpetrators of mass killings - from The Pulse shooting to Polytech to the Quebec mosque to Las Vegas to Toronto - are usually men, often with warped views on women and feminism or with a history of domestic violence. We need to have hard conversations about toxic masculinity, about the idea that women do not owe men dates or affection or sex. That this is not about mental illness, but about a culture of hate that sees women and girls as disposable, sexual objects who should be kept in their place.
Also on Monday, Dubravka Šimonović, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, issued her end of mission statement calling on Canada to adopt a National Action Plan on Violence Against Women. This week, feminists from Canada and around the world are meeting in Ottawa at the W7 - challenging G7 leaders to tackle big issue through a feminist lens. Every 6 days in Canada, a woman is killed by a current or former intimate partner.
This IS a national security issue. This attack WAS terrorism. Justin Trudeau and his government, a self-declared feminist government, need to publicly declare that the Monday attacks were an act of terrorism. That terrorism against women for being women - in their private lives and in their public lives, when walking along Yonge Street - is a national security issue. With our federal government's support, we can begin to more effectively tackle the root causes of toxic masculinity, misogyny, and violence against women.
(Note: this is not about looking to legally/criminally charge the perpetrator with terrorism, but to have the government acknowledge that this was a terrorist act, just as Trudeau did when he said, re the Quebec mosque shooting, "Make no mistake – this was a terrorist attack.")
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