On Dec. 6, 1989, an act of violent misogyny killed 14 young women at École Polytechnique at Université of Montréal.
This mass femicide, though carried out by a lone male, grew out of a societal environment of gender inequity, misogyny, colonialism, racism and other intersecting systems of oppression.
Femicide, which refers to the sex/gender-related killings of women and girls, does not occur out of the blue. Although media often portray femicides as spontaneous “crimes of passion” when men kill their female partners, these femicides are the culmination of a history of violence in more than 70 per cent of cases — and are more often crimes of control.
They are also often more likely to be premeditated than non-intimate partner killings. So many of these deaths are preventable, and we must use every tool at our disposal to increase public awareness and enhance prevention.
Holding officials to account
Public health efforts around the COVID-19 pandemic have illustrated the importance of clear messaging, prioritizing expert voices and holding political leaders and social institutions to account to save lives.
As these efforts continue, we once again mark Dec. 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, and reflect on the ongoing pandemic of male violence that continues to take the lives of women and girls worldwide.
Our work at the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability keeps track of this extreme form of sex/gender-related violence. As is so evident with the COVID-19 pandemic, the media play a critical role in informing us about how threats are defined, what aspects to pay attention to and how to deal with a given problem.
In short, the media frame the problem and suggest the solutions. As such, the media can be a key mechanism for primary prevention, but only if the problem is represented accurately.
In covering femicide, media have a leading role, not only in awareness and education generally, but in actively shaping the construction of attitudes and beliefs that can help prevention efforts.
In contrast, harmful representations include those that portray these killings as isolated or individualized events, focus on victim behaviours to suggest (implicitly or explicitly) that they were to blame for their own death or marginalizing certain groups based on race, religion, socio-economic class, sex-trade involvement, sexual orientation and other factors.
There is also the matter of who isn’t represented at all. The “missing white girl syndrome” underscores that white, usually class-privileged victims receive copious amounts of media coverage while missing and murdered Indigenous, Black and other racialized women and girls are excluded from large-scale societal attention. Therefore, some women and girls remain invisible in life and death.
Media reporting on femicide is key
How reporters frame femicides is therefore critical for accurately informing the public. Media coverage of femicide has the potential to connect it to broader issues related to violence against women, thereby educating the public about these crimes, their broader societal causes, consequences and implications.
This media coverage might include terminology such as femicide, statistics on the number of women killed by intimate partners, domestic violence resources or new expert sources who are more qualified to speak on femicide, including front-line service providers, advocates and researchers.
In addition to providing more in-depth, empirically supported context about femicide, this type of coverage raises public awareness about the issue. It reports on femicides not as isolated incidents but more directly highlights community and societal solutions.
That can include funding services that help victims of violence, prevention education, legal reform and cultural change, such as targeting the attitudes that support or normalize violence against women.
As we remember those women and girls killed by violence in Canada, we can critically reflect on how their stories are told and how the media educate us about their deaths. We can move beyond relying on police narratives and cultural framings about femicide, drawing from the experiences and expertise of survivors and those who have lost loved ones to violence.
We can reduce sensational, graphic reporting of femicide and stop suggesting any victim’s actions, behaviours or lifestyles contributed to their deaths.
Femicide is a tragic loss of life. It is the most extreme act of violence against women, a human rights violation and part of a public health crisis. An accurate representation of this crime by the media must include perspectives that address all three of these areas.
Spotify removing Neil Young’s music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum
Neil Young’s music is being removed from Spotify‘s streaming service after the singer-songwriter objected to his songs playing on the same platform that offers Joe Rogan’s podcast, the company and the musician said on Wednesday.
Earlier this week, Young had released a letter addressed to his manager and record label, Warner Music Group, demanding that Spotify no longer carry his music because he said Rogan spreads misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.
On Wednesday, the “Heart of Gold” and “Rocking In the Free World” singer thanked his record label for “standing with me in my decision to pull all my music from Spotify,” and he encouraged other musicians to do the same.
“Spotify has become the home of life threatening COVID misinformation,” he said on his website. “Lies being sold for money.”
The Swedish company said it worked to balance “both safety for listeners and freedom for creators” and had removed more than 20,000 podcast episodes related COVID-19 in accordance with its “detailed content policies.”
“We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon,” Spotify said in a statement.
Rogan, 54, is the host of “The Joe Rogan Experience,” the top-rated podcast on Spotify, which holds exclusive rights to the program.
He has stirred controversy with his views on the pandemic, government mandates and vaccines to control the spread of the coronavirus.
Earlier this month, 270 scientists and medical professionals signed a letter urging Spotify to take action against Rogan, accusing him of spreading falsehoods on the podcast.
Young, 76, said Spotify accounted for 60% of the streaming of his music to listeners around the world. The removal is “a huge loss for my record company to absorb,” he said.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Dawn Chmielewski in Los Angeles and Yuvraj Malik in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath and Alistair Bell)
YouTube permanently bans Fox News host Dan Bongino
Fox News Channel host Dan Bongino on Wednesday became among the most-followed conservative personalities to be permanently banned from YouTube, a week after the Google-owned video service said he had posted COVID-19 misinformation.
YouTube suspended one of Bongino’s YouTube channels on Jan. 20 after he posted a video where he questioned the effectiveness of using masks against the coronavirus, a violation of the company’s pandemic-related misinformation policy. His later attempt to circumvent that one-week suspension by posting from another channel triggered a permanent ban, YouTube said.
“When a channel receives a strike, it is against our Terms of Service to post content or use another channel to circumvent the suspension,” YouTube said in a statement. “If a channel is terminated, the uploader is unable to use, own or create any other YouTube channels.”
The video giant has added more rules around COVID-19 content as the pandemic has worn on. Last September, it banned conservative commentators such as Joseph Mercola and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for spreading misinformation about vaccines.
Bongino did not respond to a request for comment sent to his website on Wednesday. But he said on Twitter last week that the suspension did not surprise him and that he planned to continue posting videos on Rumble, a YouTube-style service popular among conservatives. Bongino wrote that he had double the number of followers on Rumble as on YouTube.
His Dan Bongino Show channel on YouTube had 882,000 subscribers and nearly 1,100 uploads since it was created in 2013, according to tracker Social Blade.
(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Aurora Ellis)
Book the lynching and alert the media!: Sally Barnes | Commentary – Huntsville Doppler – Huntsville Doppler
I’ve changed during and because of this pandemic. Sadly, so has my country.
Like so many others, thanks to a throng of scientific experts and lawmakers, I have become a recluse.
Our dining room—the scene of so many wonderful gatherings of family and friends over the years—is deserted. Candles remain unlit. Cherished dishes haven’t seen the light of day in months. Silverware cries out for polishing but who’s to see it or use it? Nobody.
With the odd visitor we’re allowed, we eat at the kitchen table.
If this continues much longer I fear we will become “sink eaters”. I first heard that expression from a Maritime friend to describe how, following the death of her husband, she found herself skipping meals and eating at the sink as she mindlessly stared out the window.
In my new life as a hermit, I ration my intake of news coverage and its endless account of death, destruction, and despotism. I avoid social media and its reminder of how bat-ass crazy some have become and the venom and hatred that skulks in the hearts and minds of many.
Once an avid shopper, I have adopted a “grab and run” policy. Any necessities that can’t be delivered to my door, I gather by running into a shop, grabbing what we need, and getting out of there as quickly as I can.
Sometimes, on my rare venture into the real world, I am approached by someone who greets me like a lifelong friend or associate and wants to chat. Damned if I can recognize them because of their mask. Some days I think they are maybe just lonely people hanging out in public places anxious to talk to anyone.
Here in Canada, because we are blessed with such resources, we will survive this pandemic. But I fear we will never be the same. Our weaknesses and failures as a society have been exposed, public confidence in our leaders and governments has been shaken, and you can cut with a knife the cynicism that exists about almost everything.
Every day we are reminded what a botch-up we’ve made of many of our democratic institutions and essential services.
The pandemic has exposed the fragility and shortcomings of our “world class” healthcare system and that it was a straw house just waiting to collapse under major pressure.
Overnight, so-called experts were brought in to respond to a pandemic, scrambled to do their best but neglected to consider what would happen if our schools were shut down or if we didn’t have the workers to staff the hospitals and stores and public services.
The system for recruiting and training health care professionals is faulty and our immigration and regulatory policies are partly to blame. Thousands of additional nurses are needed while thousands of young people can’t get into nursing programs or others have foreign credentials ensnared in our bulging bureaucracies.
Education? Starved of funds for repair or replacement of crumbling infrastructure and the lack of measures like ventilation. Demand for reform and the new challenge of repairing the carnage of two years of online learning at all levels from kindergarten to our colleges and universities.
Programs and facilities for the elderly are pathetic. Whom to blame?
The tsunami known as the Baby Boomers has had a major impact on society since the day this post-war generation came into the world. They have turned 75 and bring with them huge demand for costly health care and other social programs.
Warnings that we were unprepared for the demands and needs of the aging population went unheeded and the first wave of the pandemic took a cruel toll on our seniors. Families stood by helplessly as parents and grandparents died isolated and afraid.
The pandemic has wrecked our economy, created a mountain of public debt, and exacerbated countless social problems such as addictions, family breakdown, mental health issues, joblessness, bankruptcies, domestic abuse, and criminal behaviour. It will take years to assess the damage caused by closing our schools.
The pandemic has left many of us scared and angry and seeking revenge.
It has set neighbour against neighbour and caused major rifts in families and workplaces.
Many of the rich got richer during this pandemic while most of the poor got poorer. People working for governments and their agencies kept their jobs and worked at home while family-owned businesses closed and many will never reopen.
We know that the pandemic has increased the spread of racism, misogyny, corporate greed, and lack of respect for our laws and standards of civility, the importance of public discourse, freedom of speech, and tolerance.
There is growing public anger with those who choose to remain unvaccinated and are driving virus-induced hospitalization all across Canada, holding the rest of us hostage in the battle to control and survive this pandemic.
Many of us know those whose diagnosis or treatment for serious illnesses have been postponed or cancelled because the unvaccinated have selfishly monopolized limited health care resources.
A new poll out last week shows Canadians are in favour of harsh punishment for the unvaccinated. Maru Public Opinion found 37 per cent support denying them publicly funded health care and another 27 per cent say it’s okay to go as far as a short jail sentence.
C’mon people! At the rate we’re going, can it be far off when lynching in the public square replaces movies on Netflix?
We need to distinguish between those who are vaccine hesitant and/or simply refuse the vaccinations and those who actively campaign against it, spread lies and conspiracy theories, threaten vaccine proponents and their families, harass politicians, media commentators and health care workers, and use other illegal means to further their selfish and deadly cause.
Extreme proposals like imposing special taxes on the non-vaccinated and denying them health care end up hurting the most vulnerable and will only widen prospects for opportunistic politicians to feed off public rancor.
Every political party has its base of support and extreme measures are red meat for some politicians—especially those preparing for upcoming elections.
Make no mistake—vaccine policy is a wedge issue that can win votes as it divides people and foments social unrest and loss of confidence in our democratic institutions.
Here in this country, our political extremists are not as numerous, visible or obviously mad as in the U.S. but they are out there and influencing public policy.
Federal Conservative leader Erin O’Toole’s statement that the unvaccinated should be “reasonably accommodated” was at best a poor choice of words and at worst political stupidity. Laws, civility, and tolerance preserve our freedom to hold different opinions and to make different choices. But that freedom does not extend to endangering the health and well-being of others. Our courts seem to agree.
Rather than O’Toole’s appeasement and Justin Trudeau’s bad-mouthing of the unvaccinated, we need leaders who will do the heavier lifting of devising programs that actually work to get people vaccinated.
Thanks to media coverage of our pandemic failings and high-profile issues such as residential schools, the world knows that we Canadians are not the ideal, polite and apology-seeking people as we were once known.
But we remain a good people and a good country. A beacon of hope in a world gone mad.
The challenge is to learn from our mistakes and preserve our civility despite the challenges and pressure this damnable pandemic has imposed on us and our way of life.
It would be sad to win this battle but wake up from our hermit state to realize we are no longer the kind of society we and others thought we were.
That truly would be winning the battle and losing the war.
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