If people do not think there is a war against women, think again. Brian Vallee’s book, The War on Women, is still compelling in light of recent events on our “domestic battlefield.” In the last two weeks, Ottawa has been the scene of two fires at two women’s residences. The first, occurred on Nov. 8, 2009 at the Cornerstone women’s shelter, killing a 61-year-old woman. The second, on Nov. 14, 2009, occurred after a Molotov cocktail was thrown through a first floor window. It is not yet known whether the first incident was suspicious, but the second incident should raise alarm bells.
While the world is discussing the merits of sending troops to Afghanistan, and how to resolve the war overseas, our community closer to home should also be talking about what is going on down the street. Women are essentially being violently attacked on home turf, and in spaces thought to be safe havens. If this is not a signal for war, I’m not sure what is.
This is not new. Women are being attacked in their homes. Violence against women is commonplace. What is different in these recent incidents is that women are now being attacked in the conventional way people see the term “war” being used. Much of the media has been calling for help via donations, and rightly so. Perhaps the feminist community should also take this opportunity to talk about how we are going to respond to these repeated brutal attacks. Should we shoot back? Should we enter into peace negotiations? With whom are we to negotiate with? The community has been responding by providing some reprieve for these refugees. Let’s now also step it up and treat it like a war on women, and talk about how to protect women from future attacks. Ideas welcome.
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