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Owner of shelter for abused men and children commits suicide after financial ruin, ridicule

Erin Pizzey took to internet community Reddit this past weekend to answer questions from users. She is known for her integral hand and tireless efforts in exposing domestic violence to the public consciousness throughout the 1970s by setting up one of the first battered women’s shelters and writing the groundbreaking book on the subject of domestic assault: Scream Quietly or the Neighbours Will Hear. In more recent years she has taken on neglect and abuse of men and boys as her cause and this is where the majority of her questions and answers focused.

andreipmbcn:
Looking at it from a perspective of abuse and neglect, would you say that there is
a general attitude of neglect towards men today?

erinpizzey:
[…] My problem is that it’s men who’ve been victims of domestic violence, which is
largely ignored by society… and not only ignored, but ridiculed. Billions are spent
– billions I say – across the world for women’s refuges and virtually nothing for men.
And the one men’s refuge in Canada was so denigrated and despised by the Canadian
government, as you will see from our introduction, Earl committed suicide after he
was forced to sell his home and he lost everything.

The Earl she is referring to is Earl Silverman, a Canadian man who spent 20 years of his life crusading for better access to victim and emergency services for men and boys who are victims of abuse. Earl was a victim of abuse at the hands of a former spouse and dedicated his time, energy, and money towards creating a shelter specifically for male victims fleeing abusive situations.

For three years Silverman ran the Men’s Alternative Safe House out of his own home, taking in about 20 men and children over that period. Earl spent the entirety of his own savings to keep MASH running while trying, unsuccessfully, to convince the government to allocate funds for his and other projects directed at male victims. MASH was the only refuge of its kind in Canada.

After years of being unable to keep the shelter through his own funds and meagre private donations he was driven to financial ruin and forced to sell his home and, by association, give up his hopes for helping other victims. After selling his house he committed suicide on Friday, April 26, by hanging himself in the garage.

Silverman’s death appears to be caused entirely by what he and Prizzy have been fighting. He was a victim of abuse whose inability to find services eventually killed him.

Suicide is a predominantly male problem with rates in Canada making it the seventh highest cause of death for men here. In Canada just under one in every 5,000 men will kill themselves. In Yukon, Quebec, and Northwest Territories it is one in every 4,000 men. In Nunavut one in every 1,000 men will commit suicide.

There are many who would argue that men are incapable of experiencing abuse, physical or otherwise. Police statistics, for example, seem to tell a different story where only 20 percent of victims from domestic calls are male.

In fact, according to Statistics Canada, men are almost exactly as likely as women to be victims of domestic abuse:

“A similar proportion of men and women reported experiencing spousal violence
during the five years prior to the survey. Among men, 6.0% or about 585,000,
encountered spousal violence during this period, compared with 6.4% or
601,000 women.”

Perhaps the low rate of police calls for men in distress is not indicative of low rates of abused males but rather indicative of men being afraid to coming forward to police or attempt to escape their situation.

Male victims are being told from all sides that they are not victims; that statistics are so low they don’t matter; that if they were a real man they would just suck it up and take it; that women aren’t capable of delivering the same kinds of abuse that men can; that what they are experiencing is normal.

After hearing enough of that, it is no surprise that men would be afraid to step forward.

Even if they did manage to overcome everything they’ve ever been told, now that Canada’s only shelter for men is gone, where would they even go?

Ed Note: This story has been updated to include more reliable figures on suicide in Canada.

“You deserve rape” sign sparks outrage on Arizona campus

Outrage was sparked on campus and online this week when a University of Arizona student protested a sexual assault awareness event by brandishing a sign that read “You deserve rape” to passing students on Tuesday.

The student, Dean Saxton or Brother Dean Samuel, told the UA newspaper Daily Wildcat that  “if you dress like a whore, act like a whore, you’re probably going to get raped.”

“I think that girls that dress and act like it,” Saxton said, “they should realize that they do have partial responsibility, because I believe that they’re pretty much asking for it.”

Saxton is known for delivering fire-and-brimstone style sermons on campus, although his sermon in advance of the UA campus Take Back The Night march left many students feeling as though he’d gone too far, including one student who is currently facing police action for attempting to forcibly take the offending sign from Saxton’s hands.

The UA dean of students admitted that although she disagrees with his sentiments his views are protected as free speech and there is currently nothing the school can do to reprimand him, although they have sought legal advice on the matter.

The photo associated with this story was posted to Reddit on Thursday morning and ignited a flurry of responses from users around the globe, including many wishing rape and violence upon Saxton, and also some rape apologists (something of a Reddit hallmark) who agreed with Saxton’s sentiments, but not the way he went about delivering his message.

For more information on this story check out the Daily Wildcat‘s story here, their editorial on running the story here, and the Reddit thread here.

50 most disgusting responses to Toronto’s male rape victim

This article was originally published on April 8, 2013.

Over the weekend a young man came forward to the police to file a report of a sexual assault that occurred early on March 31. The 19 year old told police that he had been out and upon leaving a club in Toronto’s Entertainment District he was offered a ride from four women. Instead of dropping him off, the four women took him to a parking lot and each sexually assaulted him. The police are looking for four white women between 30 and 36 around 5’4″ and between 190 and 200lbs who were out in a Honda SUV on the night of March 30.

The story has made the rounds of all the major news outlets.

The response from some cretins on social media has been jaw-droppingly ignorant and abusive towards the victim.

One might think that, with the Steubenville rape case barely gone from the cultural rearview mirror, in 2013 people may have learned how to better approach rape cases in a helpful and supportive way. Instead the young victim is being told:

1.       It is funny that he was raped.

2.       He should consider himself lucky.

3.       He wasn’t raped because men can’t get raped.

4.       It is his own fault and he is to blame.

These attitudes are not only disgustingly ignorant and wrong, but they perpetuate these same dusty old antiquated ideas for future generations and prevent victims from getting help and keep them suffering in silence.

It is hard to think of a famous case where a man was sexually assaulted because people — society, the media — openly laugh at male victims of sex crimes and these cases don’t make it to light. We don’t need to look any further than Adam Sandler’s recent attemptThat’s My Boy to see an example of a male victim of sexual assault being treated as lucky and the situation as a funny non-issue. It is no wonder that it took this young man until April 5 to go to police: there are almost no resources for male victims of sex crimes and everything out there on the matter completely delegitimises his experience.

Even Nicole Pietsch of the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres took the opportunity while being interviewed by the Toronto Sun about this case to say that “statistically and anecdotally [rape] is a crime experienced mostly by women, and the offenders tend to be male.” Her statement has no bearing on the case of the young man who was raped other than to reaffirm notions that this case is an oddity and men aren’t victims, notions that keep victims (like this young man and others) from coming forward and seeking justice for their rape.

This young man is so amazingly brave to go to police with his story.

The reaction on social media has been downright disturbing, with a limitless number of heartfelt LOLs and LMAOs from people like this, who seem to think it is totally okay to laugh at a real human person being gang raped:

To ignorant misunderstanding of the basic idea that men can be victims of rape from people like AHL defenseman Mike Banwell from the Springfield Falcons:

 

The chatter is easy to breakdown into the four basic categories of dismissal listed above, along with a category specific to this case where we are told that the rape victim wouldn’t have been “raped” when the four attacked abducted him and sexually assaulted him in a secluded parking lot if they weren’t as fat.

Here are some of the most retch-worthy tweets, responses, and Reddit comments.

It’s funny that he was raped

He’s lucky!

Men can’t get raped

Old fashioned victim blaming

 

This guy, who manages to be offensive to gays, women, and the victim, really takes the cake:

 

It wouldn’t have been rape if they weren’t chubby

If you’ve made it this far down just be warned that after reading all that garbage it may take some time for your faith in humanity to return.

Join our conversation on Twitter and Facebook about why these attitudes are bad and rape is not okay, regardless of the sex of the victim.

Win tickets to the Stratford Festival 2013 season!

Do you love theatre? Do you annoy your friends by randomly quoting the best writer ever, William Shakespeare? Well, you’re in luck because Women’s Post is offering one reader the chance to win tickets to Stratford’s 2013 season. Soak in the atmosphere as you watch performances of Romeo and Juliet, Othello and The Merchant of Venice, then expand your theatre palate with productions of Fiddler on the Roof, Blithe Spirit, Tommy, The Three Musketeers, and other classics. Enter today for your chance to win.

 

Contest Rules & Regulations:
Contestants must reside in Canada (excluding Quebec) to be eligible to win
Contestants must be 18 or older
Contestants are eligible to enter 1x daily (further entries will not be counted)
Contest closes on Tuesday, May 7th, at 5 p.m.

 

CONTEST CLOSED

Man Sues Gym Over Gender Exclusion Hours

Peter Lloyd is upset with his gym over the hours scheme that he feels is an example of sexism towards men.

The Kentish Town Sports Centre in North London currently bans men and boys from working out for 442 hours every year. According to Lloyd, who wrote an editorial in the Daily Mail on the subject recently, these hours are not only sexist for being exclusionary, but they also create an unjust system where men are paying the same full price for a membership that is inactive for 442 hours a year.

Lloyd suggests that the gym should offer men only hours to balance out the exclusion, to abolish the women only hours, or to charge men less for their membership to make up for the hours they cannot use.

“But, finances aside, the Kentish Town Sports Centre has a social responsibility to encourage equality as well as physical health. Forcing men – whether 70 year-old pensioners or 13 year-old boys who attend with their mothers – to leave a room because of their gender, rather than their behaviour, is degrading. It’s also eerily reminiscent of when African Americans were separated from their caucasian peers in 1940s America.”

What do you think. While it is obviously unfair for men to be paying the same price as women for less time, is canceling women’s hour the best way to correct this? Should men also be afforded their own time, free of women?

 

VIDEO: “Protecting and Maintaining Your Heterosexual House of Cards”

Writer, director, producer, and former PEIslander Kirby Ferguson is here to tell you about the dangers of homosexuality.

What most straight guys don’t know, according to Fersguson, is that their heterosexuality is teetering on the brink of collapse at any given moment. One wrong move and homosexual madness will break loose.

Some of the basic ground rules he sets out in his video “Protecting and Maintaining Your Heterosexual House of Cards” are as follows:

— Always remember WANGZ: We Are Not Gay Zone to keep a safe distance from other guys and prevent yourself from accidentally making out with them.

— No eye contact, this could lead to an intimate encounter

— Keep a two foot buffer, this will save you from romantic situations

Check out these hilarious tips and more in Ferguson’s video above so that you too may be protected from the dangers of accidental homosexuality.

 

Woman of the Week: Kim Smiley

Beneath its glittering surface, the jewelry world can be a pretty ugly place. From blood diamonds to ivory poachers, the history of jewelry is filled with examples of the darkness to which a person can descend in the pursuit of precious stones.

That’s why it is such a relief to see people like Kim Smiley, the creator of Sapphô by Kim Smiley, using jewelry to create a positive impact on the world and giving these baubles a reason to shine.

“The essence of my vision,” Kim says, “is to use fashion as a platform for empowering women with meaningful work.” By providing marginalized women the opportunity to work for Sapphô and earn a living wage, Kim is changing lives.

“I have always loved fine art and fashion, but my heart has always drawn me to the charitable sector. Sapphô marries my passion for social justice with my love of aesthetics and style.”

Sapphô, Kim’s jewelry collection, is named after the ancient Greek poet. Known for her lyrical odes to the beauty of women, she is a fitting namesake for a jewelry company that is aiming to use its pieces to introduce people to great poetry.

Each one-of-a-kind and handmade piece of jewelry in the collection is inspired by a poet, and comes with a poem from said poet’s collection.

“We juxtapose Nobel Laureates like Pablo Neruda with brilliant emerging poets like American Jessica McFarland, whom I met while a graduate student [at Harvard] in Boston,” Kim says.

This unique marketing scheme is one of the many ways Kim sets her company apart from the pack. However, this was not a decision made just to creatively market her collection. Kim really believes in the power of poetry.

“We’re using fashion as a portal to open people’s eyes to the beauty and wonder of poetry,” Kim explains. “Many people are turned off by poetry because they think it’s inaccessible or elitist. We want to turn them on. Who ever thought jewelry could get people to read Pablo Neruda? We’re feeling pretty optimistic.”

Drawing attention to beautiful poetry by linking it to stunning jewelry, the impact of Sapphô would be enough reason to laud Kim as a supreme businesswoman (as well as a fashionista). But she doesn’t stop there. Kim also has solid work experience in the non-profit sector.

Currently, she serves as the vice president of community capacity building at the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. This role allows her to once again use her social consciousness to make a difference, but focuses it more on the Jewish community in the GTA.

Prior to her work with the UJA Federation, she served as vice president of marketing and development for Habitat for Humanity and assistant director for the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre & Museum.

Clearly, Kim has spent much of her life striving to make the world a prettier place, both literally and metaphorically. What’s the next step for her?

“I’m joking with friends that maybe I should start a modest poetry library where people can check out books and try on jewelry,” she says.

All joking aside, such an endeavour would be a natural fit for a woman who has so adeptly combined the worlds of charity, literacy and jewelry.

74 Girls Poisoned in Afghan School

On Thursday morning as many as 74 students at Bibi Hawa Girls High  fell ill after smelling a noxious gas. The attack in Taluquan, Takhar, Afghanistan is now suspected to be a poisoning orchestrated by the Taliban.

This is a continuation of violence against girls and women being educated or expressing their freedoms from the hardline conservatives of the Taliban who wish for the country to return to its ways prior to American intervention in 2001.

Some of the girls remain in critical condition at hospital. The girls were rushed to medical care after falling unconscious.

Three days prior to this attack another school in Taluquan wasx attacked with gas, hospitalising a dozen girls.

Check out our brand new online makeover!

There’s nothing like a makeover to reinvigorate you. A new dash of colour, a little spice in your life. I am so excited to show you the new look of Women’s Post online and invite you to take part in the new online experience.

Let’s go over some of our new features. We’ve adopted a Disqus commenting feature for articles that will allow you to quickly login with your Facebook, Twitter, or Google account to comment on a story you’ve just read.

We’ve added a very handy new sidebar to give you easy access to the latest stories from all over the website from the main page and also article pages.

Of course, these are only two changes picked out of a complete overhaul. We’ve taken our time making WomensPost.ca the most user-friendly and intuitive website it can be to make sure there is no learning curve for our regular readers making the switch.

Excited as I am yet? The new website gives us a million better ways to connect with you as readers and lets readers connect with each other for meaningful discussion while we’re providing you with thoughtful content. That’s pretty exciting stuff.

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be working towards getting our whole back catalogue of articles ported over to the new website for you to browse so be sure to check back for any old favourites.

Try out the new commenting system and let us know what you think about the makeover