19 years later and where are we?
For anyone who is Canadian, December 6 marks an anniversary they will remember, and, if not then they should. Nineteen years ago, on this day, 14 women were shot and killed in Montreal at their University. They were murdered for being women and because their murderer felt that a woman attending university deserved to die.
Since that day, December 6th has marked a time of memorial for the fourteen women and also for all women who have suffered from violence in our misogynistic world. This year marked the first time in my life that I was both aware enough and brave enough to attend such a memorial.
Its been many hours and I still can't gather my thoughts properly in most respects. Too much powerful emotion is at work. One thing struck me in a way that I can articulate. As I sat there, being the only person of any gender in a wheelchair, I felt the absence of those with disabilities, the absence of acknowledgment of those with disabilities, as though a bind eye was turned to the violence against women with disabilities, especially those in some form of care facility who are so disproportionately targets of violence.
Part of the memorial was to make it a day of action and we were asked to consider and record what we intended to do for the rest of the year, so that our voices were not raised on one day and one day only. People were then given a chance to come forward to share their plans.
I am, by happenstance of birth, male and largely self identify as such. I am also a feminist ally. As such I was there to give my support as a visitor, but it was not my space. It was not my place to step forward. Instead I make my voice heard here in a space that is mine, to add my voice and my pledge to those already made publicly or privately.
I make my pledge to remind people that women with disability are amongst the most common targets of violence in our society. That I will respect my role as an Ally/man but to the extent that role permits, and to the best of my ability and courage I will be a voice on this issue. Ideally giving support on this issue when a spokeswoman is present or if needs be as a reminder, both visible and vocal on the issue of disability and its close ties with violence against women.