Open letter in solidarity with London Abused Women’s Centre

london abused women's centreTO: Megan Walker, ED London Abused Women’s Centre, The Board of Directors London Abused Women’s Centre, Staff and Clients London Abused Women Centre

Women in Canada and around the world look to the London Abused Women’s Centre (LAWC) as a leader in the provision of services to women who have experienced male violence, whether in intimate relationships, from strangers, or through the sex trade. We admire the willingness of the Centre to take public, feminist positions regarding the oppression and exploitation of women, and particularly its recent decision to withdraw its support for the London, ON “Take Back the Night” event because of a proposed pole dancing demonstration that was to take place as part of a larger protest highlighting public violence against women perpetrated by men.

Like LAWC, we understand that pole dancing emanates from the highly objectified practice of stripping and “exotic dancing” performed for the benefit of men to the disadvantage of women generally, insofar as it focuses on a male-defined understanding of women’s worth and sexual expression. Women’s individual choices with respect to participation in physical exercise that focuses on their sexual attractiveness to men within a context of oppression and exploitation are confined by male social and economic dominance. All women are entitled to respect, compassion, care, and service provision. All women. This does not mean that women’s organizations must endorse activities that represent male dominance and concomitant damage to women and girls in order to be respectful of women who engage in them.

We admire the courage of LAWC, its Board of Directors, and its staff for willingness to publicly articulate the principles of anti-sexist, anti-misogynist, feminist practice in the provision of services and are appalled by the abusive response of some members of the community. We believe it is important that personalized attacks on leaders and staff of LAWC be publicly identified and acknowledged as attempts to intimidate individuals and the organization and pre-empt free public discourse.

We offer our solidarity and support.

Signed,

Organizations:

Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Australia, Melbourne, Australia

Collective Shout, a grassroots campaigning movement against the objectification of women and sexualisation of girls in media, advertising and popular culture), Australia

Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter

Women’s Place Kenora

Nordic Model Coalition in Australia

NL Feminists and Allies, St. Vincent’s, Newfoundland

Canadian Feminist Network

Persons Against Non-State Torture

EVE (formerly Exploited Voices now Educating), a volunteer, non-governmental, non-profit organization composed of former sex-industry women dedicated to naming prostitution violence against women and seeing its abolition through political action, advocacy, and awareness raising that focuses on ending the demand for paid sexual access to women and children’s bodies.

Strey Khmer Organization, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Radical Feminists Unite, Toronto, ON

Scottish Women Against Pornography, Edinburgh, Scotland

Individuals:

Linda Beacham, Women’s Place, Kenora, ON

Sylvia Black, Atlanta, GA

Emily P, Toronto, ON

Elizabeth Sellwood, Toronto, ON

Ness Fraser, Guelph, ON

Carol Dunphy, Toronto, ON

April Carriere, Ottawa, ON

Dawn Kuehn, Kelowna, BC

Trisha Wilson-Singer, Toronto, ON

Sam Turi, Kitchener, ON

Mary Poelstra, Fredericton, NB

Cathryn Atkinson, Squamish, B.C.

Sharon Fraser, Halifax, NS

Marie Hume, Mannum, South Australia

Candice Pilgrim, Belleville, ON

Simone Watson, prostitution survivor and director of Nordic Model Coalition in Australia

Susan Barley, Australia

Kylee Nixon, Edmonton, AB

Fawn Sewell, Edmonton, AB

Paula Schmidt, Vernon, BC

David DePoe, Toronto

Lynda Richardson, Women’s Place, Kenora, ON

Celia Nord, Chase, BC

Elizabeth Pickett, Ottawa, ON

Meghan Murphy, Vancouver, BC

Orla Hegarty, NL Feminists Allies, St. Vincent’s, Newfoundland

Jennifer White, London ON

Terre Spencer, Atlanta, GA

Meagan Tyler, Melbourne Australia

Inge Kleine, Kofra (Communication Centre for Women), Munich, Germany

Colleen Glynn, Richmond, BC

Tamara Gorin, Port Coquitlam, BC

Jess Martin, Vancouver, BC

S.C. Gillett, Toronto, ON

Natasha Chart, Rochester, NY

Wendy Lewis, London, ON

Leah Harwood, Toronto, ON

Jacqueline Gullion, Ghent, Belgium

Johanna te Boekhorst, Chilliwack, BC

Krista Sawchuk, London, ON

S.L. Bondarchuk, Edmonton, AB (Edmonton Small Press Association)

Rachel Goodine, Victoria, BC

Arianwen Harris, Australia

Jennifer Chavez, Maryland, US

Antonia Bookbinder, Maryland, US

Eliana Bookbinder, Indiana, US

Bronwyn Winter, Associate Professor, Acting Director, European Studies Program, The University of Sydney. Sydney, NSW, Australia

Megan Larin, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Jade Tinkler, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Ally Johnston, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.

Susan Barley, Lithgow, NSW, Australia.

Dr Merike Johnson, Hervey Bay, QLD, Australia.

Caitlin Roper, Perth, WA, Australia.

Melinda Tankard Reist, Collective Shout. Canberra, ACT, Australia

Paige Gleeson, Hobart, TAS, Australia

Lindy Cameron, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Spider Redgold, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Raina Robertson, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Jodie Finnigan, Melbourne. VIC, Australia

Yolanda Krockenberger, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Jacqueline Gwynne – Pink Cross – Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Rosemary Davey, QLD, Australia

Elizabeth Sheehy, Professor of Law , University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, Ottawa, ON

Martha Jackman, Professor of Law, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, Ottawa, ON

Lynda Davies, former Executive Director, Assaulted Women’s Helpline, Ottawa, ON

Catherine Weiss, Melbourne, Australia

Rebecca Thornhill, Ottawa, ON

Shana Bergen, USA

Angie Conroy, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Julie Bindel, London UK

Dr Kate Cook, Manchester UK

Bernie O’Roarke, London, UK

Samantha Jinks, UK

Yolande Clark, Fredericton, NB

Dr. Erin Graham, Vancouver, BC

Diane Martin CBE, United Kingdom

Nayoung Kim, Seoul, South Korea

Sue Breeze, Barriere, BC

Julie Chalder-Mills, Cambridge, UK

Diane Martin CBE, United Kingdom

Sineat Yon, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Sue Breeze, Barriere, BC

Julia Long, London, UK

Caroline Pugh-Roberts, London, ON

Margaret McCarroll, London, ON

Marina O’Brien, Bristol, UK

Nicola Sharp-Jeffs London, UK

Kristyan Robinson, London, UK

Lee Lakeman, Vancouver, BC

Lucy Coghill, Hertfordshire, UK

Gloria Savage, Niagara Falls, ON

Fay Blaney, North Vancouver, BC

Marv Wheale, Vancouver, BC

Manon Marie Jo Michaud, Montreal, QC

Lucy Wainwright, Derbyshire, UK

Michael Laxer, Toronto, ON

Jennifer Drew, London, UK

Shauna Devlin, Ireland

Manu Schon, Wiesbaden, Germany

Mary Lou Jones, M.Ed, London, ON

Eliza Karat, Warsaw, Poland

Rebecca Harrison, North Yorkshire, UK

Chris Wilson, Vancouver, BC

Ina Major, NS

Raquel Rosario Sanchez, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Sonia Zawitkowski, Georgetown, ON

Reaksmey Arun, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Hilary McCollum, Donegal, Ireland

Yeliz Osman, Mexico City, Mexico

Lori Hirt, Rochester, N.Y.

Pam Rubin, Halifax, NS

Stephie Smith, Vermont, USA

Kelly Wark, Toronto, ON

Danielle Loger, Melbourne, Australia

Tera Cornel, Edmonton, AB

Raymond Cornel, Edmonton, AB

Sarah Miller, Reclaim the Night, Perth, Australia

Fraser Windsor, Reclaim the Night, Perth, Australia

Laura Clappinson, Reclaim the Night, Perth, Australia

Liz Waterhouse, Reclaim the Night, Perth, Australia

Elizabeth Carola, UK

Liz Smith, Melbourne, Australia

Elizabeth Gordon, London, UK

Emma Cox, Essex, UK

Darlene Corry, Donegal, Ireland

Kathleen Barry, California, USA

Nayoung Kim, Seoul, South Korea

Heather Gunn, West Vancouver, BC

Kayley Self, Los Angeles, CA

Michele Landsberg, Toronto, ON

Paige Schwimer, Los Angeles, CA

Sara Davidson, Hamilton, ON

Brian Cross, Vancouver. BC

Rachel Feury, Ireland

Rose Meltzer, USA

Meaghan McGraw, Vancouver, BC

Dr Maja Bowen, UK

To add your name to this letter, contact: Elizabeth Pickett at elizabethpickett1@gmail.com.

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