Tag Archives: violence

Today: METRAC at Osgoode (Tamar Witelson & Joanna Hayes)

METRAC4thFebJoin us today for the second in this IFLS series

Community, connections, commitment: Conversations at Osgoode
Tamar Witelson & Joanna Hayes of METRAC
Tuesday February 4th 1230-230 in Osgoode Hall 2027 (Faculty Lounge)

Legal Director Tamar Witelson & Legal Information Coordinator Joanna Hayes work for one of Toronto’s most dynamic and community engaged agencies. METRAC is a non-profit committed to the rights of women and children to live their lives free of violence and the threat of violence. METRAC also has not one but TWO legal information websites: Ontario Women’s Justice Network (OWJN) www.owjn.org and Family Law Education for Women (FLEW) www.onefamilylaw.ca
Joanna & Tamar will discuss the work METRAC does, how they work together, their career paths, and what working in the not-for-profit sector is like. Poster available here.

From our last session, with Farrah Khan and Deepa Mattoo (click here for more)

I really enjoyed today’s conversation. It was one of the best lunch hour talks I have been to at Osgoode. I appreciated the nuance, sensitivity, and palpable commitment Farrah and Deepa exhibited towards their advocacy and work. (Osgoode 3L)
It’s so rare to hear dialogue that’s both interesting and truly candid. I felt like I got a real glimpse into the work they’re doing, and what is at stake in current feminist legal activism. It also helped me think about what the current needs are in Toronto, and how I could envision responding to them. (Osgoode 1L)

Joanna Hayes is a lawyer and the Legal Information Coordinator for METRAC’s Community Justice Program, where she is responsible for developing and delivering accessible legal information and public legal education for women and youth affected by violence. She has a varied legal background, having worked in many social justice and public interest legal organizations with a focus on immigrant and refugee rights, women’s rights, and increasing access to justice. Before joining METRAC, she articled with the Ministry of the Attorney General, where she assisted counsel at the Ministry of Labour with prosecutions under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Employment Standards Act. Joanna has worked at the Office of the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario providing legal research and policy recommendations on whistleblowing legislation. She has also done legal work in Kenya to increase access to justice for marginalized groups and in South Africa with respect to the rights of women and girls, intimate partner violence and sexual offences.

Tamar Witelson is the Legal Director at METRAC, heading METRAC’s Community Justice Program, which develops and delivers in-person, online and printed legal information and education to community support workers, and to women who have experienced abuse and violence. Tamar develops and delivers training, and has presented at seminars and conferences about human rights and diversity issues. Tamar’s legal background has spanned the public and private spheres, with a focus on equality and human rights law. Before joining METRAC, Tamar was staff lawyer at the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), where she launched an equality rights website for legal news and analysis. She has served as Counsel at the Constitutional Law Branch of the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, and as Counsel at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, working on the transition to the Tribunal’s current direct access model. She also had a private practice in union-side labour and human rights law, following her Clerkship at the Supreme Court of Canada. Before becoming a lawyer, Tamar worked for twelve years in television news, political and current affairs.

CFP x2 Geographies of Violence (Place Space & Time) & Cdn Women as Public Intellectuals

Two really amazing looking CFP’s – one from the Feminism and Legal Theory Project with the conference January in Atlanta, and one from Mount Allison U for 2014.  


The Feminism and Legal Theory Project at 30: A Workshop on Geographies of Violence: Place, Space, and Time (Deadline: October 21, 2013)

Location:  Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, Georgia. Date: January 24-25, 2014. The summer of 2013 marks the beginning of the 30th year of operation for the Feminism and Legal Theory Project. During the 2013-2014 academic year we will be looking at the history and impact of feminist legal theory in a variety of key areas of concern to those interested in the institutionalization, construction, and maintenance of gender and gender differences, as well as broader issues of social and economic justice. Following in the footsteps of our workshops on sex and reproduction and the family as areas of early feminist legal scholarship, we will consider violence.


Thirty years ago the discussions revolved around “domestic violence,” this workshop will look at the issues more broadly. One overarching question in all the sessions is: what is the role for and future of feminist legal theory and gender analysis in a “post-egalitarian” and “intersectional” world in which claims and analyses based on gender differences are viewed with suspicion? Guiding Questions: What “counts” as violence? How does the space and place in which violence occurs affect our responses to it? Why is there such resistance to the idea of wide-spread gendered violence in American politics? What are the different perspectives on violence reflected in disciplines such as law, medicine, public health, anthropology, political science, ethics, and religion? How do societal institutions act in conjunction with or opposition to the state in understanding and addressing violence? What is the relationship between interpersonal violence and structural violence? Between violence and art and culture? Can the state be understood as violent? What are the benefits and drawbacks in looking at violence from a societal or cultural, rather than an individual or criminal justice, perspective? What would a society designed to eliminate violence look like? What is the relationship between “public” and “private” violence? What can we learn from looking at gender-based violence (broadly conceived) among cultures with different traditions, economic organizations and legal frameworks for gender equality? Is gendered violence endemic to all societies, and inherent in human nature? Or are there identifiable causes and remedies? What about violence against children? What is the relationship between neglect and violence? Can violence ever be justified, for example in the cause of humanitarian interventions? How do the categories of “victim/perpetuator,” “domestic violence,” “intimate partner violence,” and “gendered violence” shape our approaches to law and policy? What is “rape culture” and what are its implications for individual cases of aggression? How does violence shift across the course of the lifespan? How and why should we think differently about violence directed toward different age groups: children, youth, adults, and seniors? What can and should be done to address emerging forms of online bullying and virtual violence? Workshop Contacts: Martha Albertson Fineman, mlfinem@emory.edu, Stu Marvel, smarvel@emory.edu. Submission procedure: Email a proposal as a Word or PDF document by October 21, 2013 to Yvana Mol at:ymols@emory.edu. Decisions will be made by October 31 and working paper drafts will be due December 20 so they can be duplicated and distributed prior to the Workshop.  Workshop details: The Workshop begins Friday at 4PM in room 575 of Emory Law School (1301 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA). A dinner in the Hunter Atrium will follow the panel presentation session on Friday.  Panel presentations continue on Saturday from 9:30 AM to 5PM and breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Discourse & Dynamics: Canadian Women as Public Intellectuals : Conference on Women as Public Intellectuals in Canada and Quebec, Mount Allison University, (Deadline: October 31, 2013).


Art by Alison Creba, from current exhibition at Owens Art Gallery at Mount Allison University in NB.   Alison Creba: City Mail Poster Meeting Places 20 September to 10 November  The exhibition Meeting Places at the Owens Art Gallery has been planned in conjunction with an international conference on place and space organized by Mount Allison University in Sackville and St. Mary's University in Halifax. The exhibition brings together artists whose work offers definitions of place and inquires into the way place-based communities form, are transformed, migrate, become dispossessed, and occupy territory. The exhibition will feature Eryn Foster, whose practice is based in relational aesthetics, through community actions such as the building of a community oven and the planning of community walks. Eryn will collaborate with Winnipeg artist Ray Fenwick. Also included are First Nations artist Frank Shebageget and New York/Nova Scotia-based artist Tom Sherman who, in their different ways, merge community and identity; and Toronto artist Alison Creba, the founder and facilitator of CITY MAIL, whose work acts as a catalyst for further explorations of the physical and personal topographies that characterize an area, and Mitchell Wiebe, artist-in-residence at the Diefenbunker in Debert, Nova Scotia, one of several bunkers built during the Cold War. Mitchell will collaborate with Halifax artist Aaron Weldon.
Poster for City Mail by Alison Creba

CONFERENCE: 16-18 October 2014, Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick. This national conference proposes to appraise women’s contributions to dynamic discourse in Canada and Quebec. Scheduled in conjunction with Persons Day, 18 October 2014, the conference will feature among other notable participants Margaret Atwood, Nicole Brossard, Siila Watt-Cloutier, Jessica Danforth, Charlotte Gray, Pam Palmater, Judy Rebick and Janice Stein.


Canadian women have contributed enormously to public discourse, in important but often under-valued ways.  Across different generations and cultural communities, women in English Canada and Quebec address key questions that animate intellectual discussion, from concerns about the environment and the economy to issues of social justice, racism, poverty, health and violence.  But are their voices valued and heard, or are they subsumed in the general noise of public debate?  Why they are not accorded the attention and approbation they merit? The concept of the public intellectual has come under considerable scrutiny in recent years. Classic studies such as The Treason of the Intellectuals (Benda 1928) or The Opium of the Intellectuals (Aron 1957) have been succeeded by further investigations, among them The Last Intellectuals (Jacoby 1987), Representations of the Intellectual (Said 1993), Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline (Posner 2001), Public Intellectuals: An Endangered Species (ed. Etzioni and Bowditch 2006).


In 2007, Toronto Star columnist Alex Good asked “What has become of the Canadian public intellectual?” (“Woe is Us,” 8 April 2007) while Queen’s Quarterly published essays on the matter by Michael Ignatieff (“The Decline and Fall of the Public Intellectual” Fall 1997) and Mark Kingwell (“What are Intellectuals for?” Spring 2011).  Kingwell, reflecting on Canada’s most important thinkers, acknowledges that identification is controversial, but mentions McLuhan, Frye, Innis, Woodcock, Grant, Gould, Jacobs, Atwood, Taylor, and Ignatieff.  This list is not untypical–most names are those of men. The National Post’s 2005 search for Canada’s most important public intellectual repeats this bias; of the twenty-two individuals profiled, only four were women, Margaret Atwood, Naomi Klein, Irshad Manji and Margaret McMillan. Yet women in Canada and Quebec have spoken and written on subjects of importance and concern in the public domain, from energy resources to free trade, from economic inequality to policies on immigration, from culture to medicine. Where are their names? Does the “public intellectual” brand effectively exclude women? Does its evolving definition take sufficient account of gender? of race? of class?

Proposals are invited for presentations that explore this topic.  We are open to a wide range of participation, from individual papers to panels, performances, poster sessions, or other displays.  Points of focus might include but are not limited to: refiguring the public intellectual, public intellectuals, activists, academics, artists, commentators: what are the relationships? conditions for the public intellectual, Canadian/Quebec women as public intellectuals of the past/present/future, the internet/blogosphere and the public intellectual, the impact of Canadian/Quebec women’s voices in the public sphere, substance versus style, whom do we listen to and why owning public space, daring to speak out. Proposals for individual or collaborative presentations should include: 1. title (up to 150 characters) 2. abstract

(100-150 words) 3. description (500 words) & on a separate page: 4. a short biographical note 5. full contact information. Proposals may be submitted electronically by October 31, 2013 to DiscourseDynamics@mta.ca ORGANIZERS: Christl Verduyn, Director, Centre for Canadian Studies, Professor, Department of English, Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick, E4L 1G9. Aritha van Herk, Professor, Department of English, 2500 University Dr. N.W., University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 1N4. A selection of papers will be considered for publication and a follow-up conference is foreseen in 2016 at the University of Calgary.





Need something to read? Twitter Roundup Part II


@JillFilipovic 18 Sep  In the @munkdebate feminist universe, all the men are obsolete and all the women are white. http://www.munkdebates.com/debates/the-end-of-men  

@MacleansMag 19 Sep Canada rejects UN rights panel call for review of violence on aboriginal women http://ow.ly/p0U9S   #cdnpoli


UK Judge Rules Defendant Must Remove Niqab to Testify | Dressing Constitutionally for @robsonconlaw analysis & precis http://bit.ly/19ey8cY


New in print [NIP] : Choudhury on #Governance #Feminism & #Afghan #Women http://flip.it/fVHJ9

‏Sep Fascinating and splendid. @PaulbernalUK mix of law, levity & analysis: Disney princesses, on-line identity & privacy http://paulbernal.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/online-privacy-and-identity-and-disney-princesses/  

Not so Academic 

@rgay 13 Sep Today at The Rumpus, Lizzy Acker writes about abortion in one of the most compelling ways I’ve seen; http://therumpus.net/2013/09/love-love-love/  

RT @Longreads: “Portrait of a Ten-year-old #Girl.”  http://flip.it/fWP7O   cc: #statisticsbroughttolife

@balkissoon 19 Sep By me, in the Globe: stop bossing pregnant women around. Right now. http://m.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/a-few-drinks-while-pregnant-isnt-bad-but-the-new-maternal-puritanism-is/article14406909/?service=mobile  

Life and Law

#Lawstudents don’t disqualify yourselves! why not read: The #Habits Of Supremely #Happy People http://flip.it/1jgyr

“Busy” Is Not a Badge of Honor via @lifehacker: We need to work smarter, not harder http://flip.it/apQ6U  

Call for Papers: "Honour/Shame" Related Violence in Canada

Exciting. Deadline for Abstracts – August 10.2012.  Note this, which grabbed me:

In keeping with our commitment with engaging diverse community members, the paper should be written in clear, accessible language, which can be understood by those outside the author’s area of specialization.

Could be fun! Even if you’re not going to do it, read the editor bios and wish you had a chance for coffee with them.

h/t Sheetal Rawal


“Honour/Shame” Related Violence in Canada
Edited Collection
Editors: Amina Jamal, Mandeep Kaur Mucina & Farrah Khan
We are putting together a symposium and edited collection of critical essays on “honour” related violence. The idea for this anthology emerged initially in reaction to the murder of Aqsa Parvez and the responses of various institution and communities. As other murders of young women come to light in Canada, such as Amandeep Atwal, Jassi Sidhu, Zainab, Sahar and Geeti Shafia, we find that there are limited spaces for us to mourn and reflect on the complexities of these murders.
Often the reactions of mainstream society and the questions posed to us are the following: is violence endemic to South Asian communities? Do some religions condone “honour “based killings?
Reacting to the death and to the responses, the following questions became a central focus for our work: How can we begin discussing the complexities of violence in South Asian and other racialized communities? What are some ways to do this without reinscribing colonialist assumptions that violence lives in racialized cultures? Indeed how do we talk about violence within and with our communities outside of the parameters of dominant discourse? How do we demand accountability for gendered violence within our communities without serving the interests of institutional racism, economic exploitation, Islamophobia and hetero-national imperialism?
We are looking for submissions from academics, community workers and activists.
Scholarship in, but not limited to, the following areas is particularly encouraged:
sociology, critical criminology, education, gender studies, law, social work, cultural studies, communication and social psychology.
We hope to amplify how communities are resisting on various levels to challenge both dominant perspectives as well as voices inside communities that perpetuate violence against women.
Suggested topics may include but are not limited to:
● Popular Media, Critiques and Questions
● Grassroots Movements to Address Violence
● The “Honour” Crimes Industry
● Sexual & Bodily Rights
● Community Conversations, Healing, Resiliency
● The Construction of Girlhood
● Counseling Frameworks and Supports
● Experiences in Newcomer and/or Racialized communities
● State Interventions and Policies i.e. immigration
● Role of Institutions i.e. education and social services
Submission Guidelines and Deadlines:
For your submission please include an abstract of 300-500 words, as well as Curriculum Vitae. We are looking to have the contributors present their papers in a one day symposium before the process of editing the book. This symposium will allow us to gather and workshop our papers, as well as critique and share some of the work that is currently happening in the Canadian context.
In keeping with our commitment with engaging diverse community members, the paper should be written in clear, accessible language, which can be understood by those outside the author’s area of specialization. Abstracts must be single-spaced and typed.
Please include your address, phone number and email address. Acceptances will be
sent out by September 20, 2012. Final papers will be of 4000-5000 words (15-20 pages)
in APA format.
Deadline for abstracts: August 10st, 2012
Send abstract electronically as a Word file (with .doc extension) to:
Put “Honour/Shame” Related Violence in the subject line.

Amina Jamal is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. She teaches courses in social theory, race and ethnicity, immigration and Women and Islam. Her work has been published in Signs, Meridians, Feminist Review, the Journal of Middle Eastern Women’s Studies and Totalitarian Movements & Political Religions. Her forthcoming book entitled Vanguard of a New Modernity? Women in the Jamaat-e-Islami of Pakistan is an ethnographic and textual study that seeks to offer a much needed South Asian perspective to the study of women, Islam and modernity.  Claiming social, political, cultural and affective ties to Canada, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, Jamal’s work straddles the domains of contemporary transnational feminist social and political theories and the rich spiritual, philosophical and political heritage of Islam and Muslims in South Asia.
Mandeep Kaur Mucina M.S.W, PhD Candidate: For over 11 years Mandeep has been practicing on the frontline as a social worker, child and youth worker, and community activist. Mandeep’s experience and interests are in family violence and doing community based education and engagement with South Asian communities around issues of violence against women. Mandeep is currently working towards a PhD in the Adult Education and Community Development program at OISE and finished a Master’s degree in Social Work, from the University of Toronto. Currently, she is focusing her research on second-generation South Asian women and their experiences of honour-based violence particularly exploring how second-generation South Asian women negotiate cultural knowledges, such as honour, in the Canadian context.
Farrah Khan M.S.W. is an emerging leader in grassroots equity movements. She has spent the last sixteen years working diligently to raise awareness of gender-based violence through art creation, counseling and community development. Farrah is a nationally recognized public speaker and educator on violence against women including forced marriage and “honour” related violence. She holds a Masters of Social Work from the University of Toronto and supports women survivors of violence as a counselor and advocate at violence against women agency. Deeply disturbed by the 2007 murder of teenager Aqsa Parvez, Farrah recognized that young Muslim women needed safer spaces to connect. She co-founded AQSAzine, a grassroots award-winning art collective that published four issues of an internationally-distributed magazinecelebrating Muslim youth writing and art. Farrah is currently co-editing a graphic novella Heartbeats: The IZZAT Project about young South Asian women’s resilience in the face of violence with Pomegranate Tree Group. She has been presented with various awards including the Toronto Vital People Award and the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, Women Who Inspire Award.


Flora Terah: The Politics of Personal Violence @ Osgoode Thursday March 3 1230

Osgoode Institute for Feminist Legal Studies & The Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples present:

Flora Terah: The Politics of Personal Violence
March 3, 2011
Osgoode Hall Room 107

Introduction by May Cheng
Partner, Fasken Martineau & Supporter, The Equality Effect

On September 7th, 2007, Kenyan parliamentary candidate Flora Igoki Terah was abducted and tortured by a group of men. She missed taking part in the December 2007 election, but the hardest blow came the following year when her 19-year-old only son was murdered, his death brushed aside by the authorities.
Flora Terah’s case is not an isolated incident – 153 cases of electoral violence against women candidates were reported to Nairobi’s Education Centre for Women in Democracy leading up to the 2007 elections.
Terah has since founded Terah Against Terror – an organization for victims of electoral violence, and works with the Centre for Multiparty Democracy to strengthen the democratic process in Kenya. Flora Terah plans to run for parliament again in the 2012 Kenyan elections.



Look for other events during the week of March 7-10 including:

March 9 Osgoode 106 at 1230-2:  Bridging the Local and Global: Sexual and Gender Based Violence – Panel Discussion


Deb Singh, Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape http://www.trccmwar.ca/

Jessica Yee, “multiracial Two Spirit Indigenous hip hop feminist reproductive justice freedom fighter” @jessyee

Christine Kungu’u, Kenyan lawyer, graduate student, www.theequalityeffect.ca

part of Osgoode’s International Advocacy Week on Sexual Gender Based Violence

Questions? Please contact Lielle Gonsalves, Administrator of IFLS  x55586