Thursday, October 18, 2012

Inaugural Day of Action for missing, murdered aboriginal women Thursday

A mural on the rail bridge over Portage Avenue depicts murdered Manitoba aboriginal women and another mural on the south side shows portraits of missing Manitoba aboriginal women. The inaugural Day of Action Thursday will raise awareness of these and many other aboriginal women who have gone missing or been murdered.
A mural on the rail bridge over Portage Avenue depicts murdered Manitoba aboriginal women and another mural on the south side shows portraits of missing Manitoba aboriginal women. The inaugural Day of Action Thursday will raise awareness of these and many other aboriginal women who have gone missing or been murdered.

Events will be held throughout Winnipeg on Thursday for the inaugural National Day of Action for missing and murdered indigenous women.
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the newly formed Manitoba Coalition for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women have officially recognized the day, and start things with a sunrise ceremony at the Oodena Celebration Circle at The Forks at 7:30 a.m.
Other events include:
  • 9:30 a.m. to noon, Call for Immediate Action postcard distribution at Walmart-Lindenwoods
  • 10 a.m. to noon, Wanting to Belong, a forum on gangs and violence, Sinclair Community Centre, 90 Sinclair St.
  • 10:30 a.m. to noon, Moving Forward on Safety and Protection of Indigenous Women and Girls, AMC office, 1st floor, 275 Portage Ave.
  • 10:30 a.m. to noon, 60s Scoop, Children’s Aid Society, AMC office
  • 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Community Circle, West Central Women’s Resource Centre, 640 Ellice Ave.
  • 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Structural Violence, "Manitoba Made Disaster-Flooding Catastrophic Effects on First Nation Communities," Indian & Metis Friendship Centre, 45 Robinson St.

Winnipeg Free Press Article

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Interview in the Philippines

Last November I had the unique opportunity to attend the 8th Annual World March of Women International Meeting. I had an awesome experience and while I was there I participated in a radio and televised interview to discus violence against women. The program was in Tagalog and English. It was an honor to participate and an incredible learning experience.
It's amazing and horrific that in this interview with three women from different parts of the world, our experiences with violence were far too similar. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

No One Asks For It! Wear Purple on Friday, May 4th, 2012!

On Friday, May 4th, 2012 thousands across Canada will be wearing purple in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month! In its second year, this campaign is called No One Asks For It!

In our nation, May is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. We know that sexual abuse and sexualized violence in our communities is far more common than most people think.

According to a 2006 Statistics Canada report, one in three women will experience some form of sexual assault in their lifetime. In 2008, Statistics Canada reported that over half (59%) of the police-reported sexual assault victims were under the age of 18; 81% of young victims were female and 19% were male.

Despite the prevalence and impact of sexualized crimes, sexual assaults have notoriously low reporting rates; more than 90% of victims do not report their experiences to the police.

One of the biggest hurdles that women and children face after experiencing sexual assault is the insidious notion that somehow they “asked for it” by what they were wearing, where they were, what they were doing, what they were drinking, or whom they kept company with. No doubt, this impacts many people’s decision to remain silent after experiencing an assault.

The first annual No One Asks For It! in 2011 was created in response to a number of high profile examples of victim-blaming in Canadian news. We launched a facebook event page, and what began as a local campaign, spread like wildfire across the nation; more than 17,000 organizations and individuals in Canada signed up to wear purple last year on the first Friday in May!

For 2012, we want to build on the success of last year’s campaign and make a powerful impact across Canada!

It’s simple to get involved!

* RSVP your attendance to this event.
* Invite all your facebook friends to attend as well!
* Share this event page on Twitter and use the hashtag #NoOneAsksForIt
* Organize Wear Purple events in your schools, businesses, social group, or faith group!
* Wear Purple on Friday, May 4th, 2012 and tell people why you’re doing it!

Let’s stand together on Friday, May 4th, 2012 in recognition of those in our nation who have experienced sexual violence!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Women of Distinction Awards recognize a record number of nominees, from artists to entrepreneurs

Women of Distinction Awards recognize a record number of nominees, from artists to entrepreneurs

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Women of Distinction Awards recognize a record number of nominees, from artists to entrepreneurs

Anna-Celestrya Carr, with The Men's Banner, says she's 'humbled and pleasantly surprised'  to be nominated.
Anna-Celestrya Carr, with The Men's Banner, says she's 'humbled and pleasantly surprised' to be nominated.
Shelley Chochinov doesn't think she did anything distinctive when she refused to stay within the patriarchal confines of her Jewish faith.
This was at a time when it was considered unacceptable for women to pursue religious studies, but the Winnipegger dove right in.

Outstanding in their fields

Here are this year's award nominees:
Sheila Spence
Gaetanne Sylvester
Catharine Teichroew
Jacqueline Traverse

Tina Chen
Shelley Chochinov
Felicia Olarewaju

Education, Training & Mentorship
Karen Botting
Linda Campbell
Cathy Denby
Susana Hawryshko
Cheryl Hoffman
Zana Lutfiyya
Usha Mittoo
Melanie Penner
Colleen Plumton
Lori Schellekens

Leadership & Management
Diane Carriere
Nicole Chammartin
Julie Donaldson
Daryl Dumanski
Majda Ficko
Shelly Glover
Valerie Harper
Linda Lafontaine
Dr. Jeannette Montufar
Annette Osted
Jennifer Rattray
Dr. Jerry Shrom
Dr. Lorna Turnbull

Public Awareness & Communications
Ruth Bonneville
Anna-Celestrya Carr

Science, Technology & the Environment
Judy Chipperfield
Maureen Heaman
Cheryl Rockman-Greenberg

Voluntarism, Advocacy & Community Enhancement
Kenny Daodu
Rena Molinari
Chau Pham
Claudette St. Pierre
Sally Thomas

Wellness, Healthy Living & Recreation
Nadia El-Gabalawy
Janice Lukes
Beth McKechnie
Melinda Mohammed
Jan Schmalenberg

Circle of Inspiration
Soroptimist International of Winnipeg
Diane Redsky, Joy Smith, Dianna Bussey
The UWSA Day-care staff

Young Woman of Distinction
Daniela Conci
Amanda Furst
Candace Maxymowich
Jaysa Nachtigall
Melanie Ngo
Karlee Sapoznik

Gerrie Hammond Memorial Award of Promise
Cherese Matula
Marianne Cortes
"I've never wanted to be a second-class citizen, so I started studying quietly," says Chochinov, who never really stopped. The recent graduate of the Florence Melton Adult Education School of Jerusalem's Hebrew University is one of 79 nominees -- a record number -- for the 2012 YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction Awards.
Second-class citizens? As if.
The list of nominees for the 36th annual awards, which salute women for their achievements and service in fields ranging from arts and education to business and science, includes a metabolic geneticist working on a treatment for a rare bone disease, the University of Manitoba's first female professor of finance and an engineer whose work has aided the mobility of aging Canadians. There's also the U of M law faculty's first female dean, a couple of members of Parliament and an artist who uses male handprints to raise awareness about domestic violence.
The 12 awards will be handed out at a gala dinner at the Winnipeg Convention Centre on May 2 that's expected to draw up to 950 people.
When the Winnipeg YWCA launched the Women of the Year Awards in 1977, 41 women were nominated and YMCA-YWCA associations across Canada soon followed suit. In 1991, to mark the 15th anniversary, the event was renamed the Women of Distinction Awards.
This year's record 79 nominations represent a nearly 60 per cent increase over last year's total, says Betty Black, chairwoman of the awards committee.
"We've increased our efforts significantly this year to get a higher profile in the community and reach out to more community groups," Black says. "I think that has really paid off, where more organizations and groups are aware of the award and our desire to recognize the accomplishments and achievements of women."
Winnipeg psychologist and U of M professor Judy Chipperfield, whose research on the psychological aspects of healthy aging has been highlighted in the House of Commons, says she has received many professional accolades, but this is different.
"This is the first award that really seems like it recognizes my role beyond just a researcher," says Chipperfield, who is nominated in the science, technology and the environment category.
"As I understand the nomination, it recognizes my contribution to the next generation, to training students and the work I've done to help people in the community and that's really nice."
Unlike Chochinov, she says there were really no gender barriers for her to overcome as gerontology, much like nursing, is a female-dominated field.
"We're interested in babies and we're also interested in what happens at the other end of the age continuum," says Chipperfield, whose current research focuses on the devastating effects on older adults who are sedentary and perceive their world as uncontrollable.
Métis filmmaker and artist Anna-Celestrya Carr, 26, says she's "humbled and pleasantly surprised" to be nominated in the public awareness and communications category for her performance art project.
The Men's Banner, which she started in 2007, involves asking male strangers to add their palm print and signature to a long (her longest is 25 feet) banner, essentially promising to never use their hands in an act of violence against women. She takes her banners to rallies, marches, festivals and, recently, Central Canada Comic Con, where Star Trek actors William Shatner and Jonathan Frakes lent a hand to the cause.
"Awards and recognition isn't my sole focus when I work on my projects, so it's quite lovely to be recognized," Carr, who started making banners in reaction to the hundreds of missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada. She wears traditional dress when she goes out to collect handprints.
"For me, it's more that I want to spread the word, and I guess want this to be legitimized. People keep asking me what organization I'm with, but I'm not an organization. I'm an artist and this is part of my body of work. And I plan to do it for the rest of my life."

Tickets for the 36th annual Women of Distinction Awards gala are $160 (with a tax-deductible receipt for the donation portion) and available at www.ywi

Monday, March 12, 2012

Keira Knightley Experiences Domestic Violence

It’s a funny thing to be posting this video now, I remember watching it a year and a half ago. I found it powerful at the time but because of life I didn’t dwell on it.  However, for no reason I can think of it popped into my head this afternoon.  I felt I should look it up and share it with everyone else. 

The beginning could be the start of any number of commercials: Keira Knightley selling makeup remover for the woman on the go, your standard car commercial or movie trailer.  But the shot of a man framed by the glass windows shifts the entire mood. I really didn’t want Keira to get off the elevator.
Maybe it’s because I’m a filmmaker that I find this is a really moving psa.  When Keira Knightley looks directly in the camera “breaking character” I was ready to shout cut before she asked me to. 

"The Cut" was an advert made by Women's Aid, a UK charity.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rape Prevention on Campus

On February 1, 2012 diverse actions took place in nearly every university and college community across Canada for the National Day of Action.  As a member of the FemRev Collective I had an opportunity to speak at the University of Manitoba, voicing the issue of campus safety. 

This is what I had to say.  

Violence against women is a pervasive problem across Canada and university campuses. 
Taken from our university’s website under security services:

  • 51% of Canadian women have experienced, at least, one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.
  • 60% (approximately) of women who experience sexual assault are the targets of more than one such incident.
  • 27% of women aged 18 to 24 have experienced violence in the past twelve months.
  • 6% of violent incidents by men other than spouses involved a weapon or an object that was used as a weapon.
  • Only 6% of sexual assaults are reported.
Over the past year I’ve seen a rise in victim blaming when it comes to violent crimes committed against women particularly sexual assault. Rape isn’t an accident and it isn’t isolated. It thrives in a community where aggression, disrespect and violence are ignored or tolerated.

When I say violence I’m referring to verbal abuse, assault, sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence, and dating violence.

In my research for this speech I found endless information on rape prevention all directed at women, “helpful” tips on how to not get raped. The truth is, there’s no such thing as a rape prevention tip for potential victims, because the only way to prevent being raped is to never be in the same space as a determined rapist. Something we have no control over.  Vulnerability only exists if danger is present.
With that said, I am for personal responsibility to the community. Non-violence is up to every single one of us as individuals to commit to. Having an awareness of each other and working together for our collective safety.  Some of you may be familiar with my work; The Men’s Banner Project.  It is a visual, performance and interactive based artwork developed for men which asks them to make the promise not to use their hands in violence against women, not to ignore or tolerate the violence they witness. The banner is a tool to begin dialogue, show support and build a stronger community through art.  I started at this campus almost five years ago and now I’ve brought the Men’s Banner across Canada. It is my belief that not all people are violent and men can be a positive force in stopping violent crime.

The only real prevention tip I can give is, Don’t Rape.
If a woman is walking alone at night, don’t rape her.
If you see a classmate at a party, don’t rape her.
If your friend has had too much to drink, don’t let him rape anyone.

It is our right as students to attend classes, study and socialize in a safe environment.
It is our right to demand the university has adequate resources for preventative security measures.
Violence against anyone is unacceptable whether it is directed against children, women, men, seniors, people with disabilities, visible minorities or anyone else.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Shit Canadians say to Aboriginal Women

"Drawing attention to the abuse and victimization Aboriginal women face as a result of negative stereotypes in Canadian culture. Activism project for Women's Studies class in reflection after watching the Stolen Sisters documentary."  Description of the video on Youtube. 

This was difficult to listen to all at once. I've had every statement here in some form said to me. It's an incredible thing that my experiences have been shared all across Canada by other Aboriginal people. That the racism (and it is racism) I thought came from individual people, fellow classmates, teachers and strangers I've met was just that, an individual attitude. But, that isn’t the case. Like it’s said in the video systemic racism is ingrained in society’s treatment of Aboriginal people.  Aboriginal women are devalued and the violence they face is trivialized.  
As I work to eliminate violence against women I continue to encounter these false stereotypes placed upon myself and my people. It’s getting to be exhausting.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dignity Revolution Syria

Most of my posts relate to violence against women or the aboriginal peoples of North America. But, I’m against the oppression of all people and violent acts of any kind. I believe combating violence against women is working toward a peaceful world for everyone.   

Tonight I had the opportunity to sit and listen to what is happening in Syria.  Truthfully I did not know much about Syria beyond what I’ve seen in the news.  As a metis woman I’m all too familiar with matters concerning indigenous people represented incorrectly, partially or not at all in the media. The lecture I attended was led by Canadian Syrians, asking for support from the Winnipeg community. I feel it is important to share what I learned and continue to learn more on what’s going on.    

This video is of a flash mob event that happened at The University of Manitoba.

I cried watching this, a lot of the people in this video are my friends and I could not imagine a world without them. It’s frightening and heartbreaking to comprehend not only the loss of life happening but the pain experienced. 

What they are asking for us to do:
Pray for Assad’s end and the revolution triumph. If you don’t pray, wish well for them.
Tell your family members and friends about the Syrian struggle.
Donate for refugees and support relief efforts.
Call your MP and demand an immediate Canadian action to protect the Syrian people.
Call Stephen Harper to expel Assad’s ambassador to Ottawa. 

For more information contact