What’s Current: In response to #MeToo & #TimesUp, Canadian federal government funds review of 25,000 dropped rape cases

What’s Current is Feminist Current’s daily news roundup.

Image: Impala/Flickr
  • The federal government commits to giving the RCMP $10 million to re-open “unfounded” cases of sexual assault.
  • New report shows that a sizeable portion of men feel “nothing at all” or “bored” when women talk about sexual harassment.
  • Portland State Students storm out of an event after a scientist states that males and females have physical differences.
  • Mother of child killed by negligent off-duty cop is arrested for “failure to properly secure the child’s carseat.”
  • While this is unlikely to touch women in poverty and working class women, the 2018 Canadian federal budget has made a few tweaks in women’s favour.
Jess Martin
Jess Martin

Jess Martin is a public relations professional, an aspiring writer, and an assistant editor at Feminist Current. She prefers to write about feminist topics, disability, or environmental issues, but could be persuaded to broaden her horizons in exchange for payment and/or food. In her spare time Jess can be found knitting, gardening, or lying in the fetal position, mulling over political theory that no one in their right mind cares about.

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  • susannunes

    That PSU walkout may have been justified. One of the panelists was the fired Google idiot James Damore, much beloved by MRAs and academic kooks like Jordan Peterson. I am not buying the “report” saying the students walked out because somebody else made the obvious observations about men and women.

  • A.

    The Portland State students who reacted were in the wrong but I have no sympathy for Damore. He’s a cockroach who tried to undermine his fellow co-workers at Google. The panel was rigged so that Conservatives could have their feel good academic echo chamber. Neither side is reasonable. If they put some liberal thinkers on their academic panel then it would be more reasonable.

  • Revanchiste

    It would be interested to know the amount of re-opened cases which end into prosecution. Feminist current has put highlights on this trend but did not indicate whether those review groups have actually found cases of rape that were rejected unjustly, e.g., that there was proves of rape.

  • Kathleen Lowrey

    That car seat charge: Rebecca Solnit had a great line about how fathers don’t face any consequences for abandoning their children forever but if a mother leaves her kid alone in a car for 5 minutes, it’s curtains.

    Do we want children to be safe or do we want mothers to be punished? Car seats are actually pretty tricky to install properly, and programs that used to exist to get help with them (like, a day at the local fire station where you could drop by and have somebody go over it with you) have disappeared because of liability fears. Not fears about kids’ safety, because those programs increased it: just fears that if a kid does get hurt, somebody other than a mom might get in trouble about it.

    Every time I hear a news story brimming with self-righteous fury about a kid being left alone in a car I always think, one more point of surveillance for moms, and especially single moms. The fact that so many men are predatory toward children is just, part of the wallpaper.

    & actually now that I have my rant on: the news that Trudeau’s Liberals are promoting this new “gender equity” budget that somehow will find money to support paid leave for new dads but of course won’t put even one new nickel toward publicly subsidized day care centres is *infuriating*.

    This will simply be a payout of taxpayer money to relatively affluent men. Single motherhood and poverty are closely correlated; the most disadvantaged Canadian newborns will get exactly *nothing* from this new program. Many horrible outcomes for poor children could be prevented by offering more support to their moms, but that’s not where the Liberals are putting their “gender equity” money.

    Finally, there is something about this narrative around “parenting” and making sure the “second parent” is taken care of that actively devalues maternal labour. It sounds nice and gender equitable to talk about “parenting” rather than “mothering” but giving money to reward dads for work they aren’t currently doing but *might* do if compensated is so insulting in terms of what it indicates about the value of the work that women already are doing for free (but god forbid they do any of it wrong, like not pre-emptively mitigating the impact of some dude hitting their car).

    • Blazing Fire

      Another thing is that, one of the main needs for maternity leave is that the mother’s body needs to _recover_ from labor (don’t even talk about tearing, 4th degree tears, cutting, etc) or from C-section (which is a deep cut & a _major_ abdominal surgery).
      So, even if there are other trusted people (like the new mom’s mother, sister who are staying at home) around who are willing to help a lot with the care of the baby & even if, let’s say, she has cooks & servants for everything else, the new mom will still need the leave to (1) breastfeed and (2) recover from birth.
      There is no such mandatory reason for paternity leave – it is a PC bonus, otherwise angry-toddler MRAs will throw a tantrum about “eeeequalityyy” and about why “women have been ‘given’ everything that men had, but men aren’t getting what women have” (as if they carry the child for 9 months & risk their life birthing).
      Not to mention this:
      Like Kelan said, it is like a vacation for them, and as the above article says, they use that leave to advance their careers.
      A few days of leave to drive around to the hospital should be good, but to ask for equal leave as new moms is tooo much.

  • HR

    I read the article and watched the video and I’m confused. It seemed as if this was the bit that inspired the disruption:
    “…Heather E. Heying pointed out that there are, indeed, biological differences between men and women: height, muscle mass, fat deposits, etc.”
    Which is definitely speaking my language…I mean that’s why TIMs shouldn’t be competing in women’s and girls’ sports, right?
    But the glossed over ‘etc.’ is when she began talking about male and female brain differences…and that’s definitely speaking the language of TRAs, right?
    (A child can be born with a boy’s brain in a girl’s body ideology.)
    So who were the protesters? Rad-fems (just kidding…no such luck) or special gender fluid types with unpronounceable pronouns?
    And for that matter, what is Heather Heying’s schtick? If she believes that men’s and women’s brains have evolved to be different is she really a trans-activist in denial?
    Please help me to understand…I’m a very old crone who’s been radicalized since 1970 but I just don’t get these poor brainwashed girls advocating for creepy men and their fetishes.

    • She’s a scientist, talking science. It’s unlikely she’s a TRA at all, even a little bit. As Cordelia Fine herself says, we know there are average differences in ability and personality between the sexes, with lots of overlap (not binary at all, not even a little bit, but not identical either, and very unlikely to be purely due to socialization, because nature doesn’t work that way).

      Once upon a time female scientists could talk about the science of sex differences without being considered bigots. The one problem I have with this site is how anti-science it is when that science isn’t politically correct. (And I don’t know anywhere else that’s any better.) And that feeds into the problem of how TRAs are hijacking science and getting it wrong – there’s no body of feminism that can demolish their arguments on the basis of science.

      It hurts me particularly because I have a masculinized brain (I’m female and autistic), am unable to do “women’s” jobs, but am not allowed to work at “men’s” jobs because I don’t look the part. (More than two decades on welfare at this point, because of this. It’s heartbreaking, and feminists do not have my back, imo.) And it’s hard to be interested in guy stuff to the point when I can just plow through people at work to do it, which is what I would need in the workplace, when I am basically shunned whenever I am drawn to it, and only acknowledged when I do girl stuff, even though I am very interested in and good at guy stuff. Apparently people assume that androgynous women are all ectomorphs, and miss all of us who are high on mesomorphy but also have curves. They also don’t seem to be aware that gifted women (am I even allowed to even say that’s a thing?) tend to be high on *both* masculinity and femininity.

      I really want to tear a strip off Damore, using science. I bet he’d take one look at me and assume a non-masculinized brain. I bet even test scores wouldn’t change that, either. Asshole. But a lot of what he’s been saying is based on peer-reviewed published science. It’s just incomplete.

  • Wren

    Why wouldn’t women want to work in STEM?

  • No, that’s not what I mean. Obviously it’s not feminists’ fault the world is unfair and sexist. But it would be nice if I didn’t have to deal with science deniers in feminist circles. You know, the place I go to for support.

    And yes, my brain is likely in between the average male and female brain on traits that are sexed, based on my functioning and interests. Masculinization is a thing. But I don’t have a male brain. Or even a typically masculine brain. Just not one that is more typical of women.

    • Wren

      What traits of the brain are sexed?

  • Kelan Fox

    As I said, I don’t disagree about childcare at all and you’re probably right about paternity leave. I also don’t think the majority of men care enough about their kids to take the time anyway. It would end up being a vacation.