Sex, Brains & Money host Nikki Thomas talks to Deb Singh, Counselor/Activist from the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Violence about Take Back the Night.
We at the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape would like to make a statement in regards to our position around violence against Indigenous communities, Indigenous women and 2 Spirit People and the Indigenous Resistance Movement. We would like to make this statement from our position as a majority settler organization.
As members of the TRCC/MWAR, we speak from our position as (mostly) settlers on Turtle Island. As settlers we express our solidarity with the Idle No More Movement, Indigenous women, 2 Spirit People and the struggles for sovereignty and land rights. We believe that the movement for the self-determination of Indigenous peoples is not a new one.
As a majority settler organization, we believe that colonization and sexual violence go hand in hand. We know that rape and sexual violence has been used against Indigenous women and communities for hundreds of years and it is a tool of colonization and conquest against Indigenous women’s bodies and the land itself.
The TRCC/MWAR has a goal of bringing our membership more in line with the connection between decolonization and ending sexual violence. We also have a goal of working more closely in solidarity with Indigenous women’s work to end violence in their communities.
We recognize that the history of Canada is one of colonization and genocide and that on-going settler colonialism is the current reality for Indigenous peoples of this land. This has resulted in the dispossession of land and rights, the extraction and misuse of resources and forced suppression and assimilation of all the various cultures, languages and customs of Indigenous peoples. Another clear result of the ongoing state violence against Indigenous peoples is the more than 500 missing and murdered Indigenous women across Turtle Island.
We further recognize that historically many social service organizations, specifically the child welfare system, have been used as the arm of the state to continually enact violence against Indigenous communities. Many institutional non-profit organizations continue to perpetuate colonization, racism, sexism, etc., to Indigenous community members.
It is our goal to work towards decolonizing our practice at the TRCC/MWAR. This can happen by making ourselves more aware of the struggles for sovereignty, treaties and land rights, taking the direction and leadership from Indigenous peoples and their resistance, attending events led by Indigenous people, continuing to learn about the historical struggles of Indigenous peoples and so much more. We are committed to decolonizing our minds, our work and the relationships we have with Indigenous peoples. Through working with Indigenous community-based organizations and community members, we attempt to work in a good way.
This year we will be co-hosting Take Back the Night with Central Neighbourhood House. The theme is “Honouring and Reclaiming Self-Determination of Indigenous Peoples”. It is with our most authentic selves that we try to plan this event in a good way and to work in solidarity with Indigenous peoples’ existing struggles and movements. We also aim to bring this issue to light for other survivor/settler members of the community.
South Asians in Solidarity with Idle No More
(statement originally found on facebook, no url to be found)
Immigrants in Support of Idle No More
The Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape needs to make a statement about gender and our position of various genders being included/centralized to the process of building and attending the community event of Take Back the Night.
While sexual violence impacts all of us, we understand that based on experiences of oppression, sexual violence will have different impacts for those who have experiences of oppression based on age, sexual identity, class, race, gender identity, family status, ability and faith-based beliefs (including all other forms of oppression).
Herstorically, the community planning committee of Take Back the Night, can be made up of people of all genders excluding cisgendered men. This would include cisgendered women identified people, trans women, gender queer people and trans men. Also herstorically, all genders were included in attending the event, except at the time of the march in where only women, trans women and children were asked to participate in the march.
The event itself claims space for all survivors of sexualized of violence (including survivors of interpersonal violence such as childhood sexual assault, sexual assault, rape and domestic violence and institutional violence such as racism, homophobia, ableism, etc). However we recognize that gender-based violence disproportionately affects women, trans people and children.
The TRCC/MWAR wants to co-create space with community members to claim space for all survivors of sexual violence. At the same time, as we recognize gender plays a role in (sexualized) violence and we want Take Back the Night to reflect this. We also understand that folks who may have experiences growing up socialized as one gender, then transitioning to another gender may also have experienced impacts of sexual violence that need to be recognized at the event.
All genders are welcomed to the Community Fair and Rally of Take Back the Night, including any and all activities at the event exterior to the march. We welcome all two-spirited people, genderqueer people, cisgendered women, trans women, trans men, youth and children to attend the march. We welcome cigendered men to stand at the outskirts of the march and support the cisgendered women, trans women, trans men, two-spirited people, genderqueer people, youth and children you see marching. We encourage trans men and gender queer folks to decide for yourselves whether or not to participate in the march.
**For 2013 – In an attempt to decolonize gender, we are inviting cisgender men to join in the march. **
At the TRCC/MWAR, we work with communities of survivors to reflect what is needed at Take Back the Night. We ask that communities of trans people to take up space at Take Back the Night and the anti-violence movement at large.
For two-spirited, genderqueer and/or trans people: We have trained marshals for the march and we ask marshals to not police people’s gender. That means, marshals are not instructed to talk to or remove anyone from the march without consulting with their squad leader. Marshals are instructed to not make decisions about marchers on their own, but look to squad leaders for direction, in situations where people are unsafe, being harassed, etc. Marshals are instructed to think about the safety of all marchers in their role of marshal.
This year’s theme is: “Decolonizing Feminism Globally: From Turtle Island to Palestine”. This year’s theme speaks to the experiences of Turtle Islands original people and the (sexual) violence Indigenous women and Two-Spirit people still face today as part of the ongoing colonization of this land. We are all responsible for taking resources from this land and together we can honour the many treaties still between settlers and Indigenous communities. The theme is to address and speak to the lived realities from the continuous struggles and resistance of indigenous peoples of this land. Herstorically, the feminist movement has challenged the impact of violence against women and for all survivors. We acknowledge that we are on Turtle Island and have a responsibility to work from our places of settlers and to join in solidarity with the struggles impacting the Palestinian people. Please see our statement of solidarity for more details.
We have invited community members/community organizations to come and DISPLAY THEIR INFORMATION AND RESOURCES at a TABLE at the COMMUNITY FAIR located on the 2nd floor of The 519 Church Street Community Centre.
Participating community members include:
- Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape
- The Redwood
- Women’s Health in Women’s Hands
- Anne Johnson Health Station
- Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention
- North York Women’s Shelter
- Line 9
- Jane and Finch Action Against Poverty
- Women’s Connection Program
- Maggie’s – Toronto Sex Workers’ Action Committee
- OCAP – Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
- SOY (Supporting Our Youth)
- North York Women’s Centre
- Street Health
- 519 Church Street Community Centre
- Colectivo de Solidaridad Mariposas (sharing a table)