This sums up the entirety of my feelings and experiences with the Giomeshi case.
Well, this article had me in tears.
I’ve been homeless more than a couple times from the age of 8 to my early 20’s.
I still feel the constant pressure of not being able to afford my basic living expenses and the stress of knowing that homelessness is just an uncovered prescription, dropped class, or vet bill away… It’s terrifying (and often immobilizing).
This article talks about being homeless in the US but it isn’t so different here….
There are more tenancy rights- but just like when I first moved here- I was massively screwed over by a landlord and won in arbitration, but never saw a penny cause there is no way to enforce the decision without paying way more than I may have ever recouped.
Over and over, something happens and I watch what little savings I have, deplete itself.
I try to aim for something better by going to school, being involved in my community and resisting these messed up systems that perpetuate these issues…
I will always be the one who is going to work, hoping to effect change somehow- but I am terrified I will never be the one landing a stable and safe job that will help me pull myself out of this hole.
It’s a shitty battle that I often feel is futile. I plan what I would do if I ended up homeless again on an almost daily basis…. A university degree, a life of experience, a good work ethic literally means nothing when the bills far exceed the income.
I have managed to stay in the place I am in for 2 years- longer than I’ve lived anywhere…. but the longer I am here, the more I fear losing it.
I’ve been applying for a lot of jobs, most recently a position as a support person at some local shelters- the worst part is sitting in the interviews trying to seem ‘together’ knowing that not getting the position as staff could mean I may end up the client.
The reality is the longer I am in poverty, the harder it is to come out of it. I am at the point where I just expect this to be the most I can hope from life and that is a really fucking shitty way to exist.
This article is hugely important… and it was life changing for me to be able to have a therapist who was political.
The reality is folks go to therapists for a multitude of reasons, but most all of them are either caused or exacerbated by power dynamics and systemic structures.
For example, grief counselling acknowledges the need to take the time to go through a grieving process without addressing why grieving is limited to specific time frames that feed in to normative beliefs around gendered labour, gendered emotional expectations, and capitalist productivity narratives…
A lot of counselling around abuse, sexuality, or identity are again very enmeshed with concepts of toxic masculinity and heteronormativity that cannot be separated from lived experiences.
Therapists dealing specifically with mental health disorders are often not acknowledging disability outside of a medical model in which one would also look to society to see how sometimes (in the words of Andrea Gibson) ‘it is no measure of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society…’ and how mental health diagnosis vastly change based on time periods, gender, and the therapists own biases.
All too often, therapist work to ’empower’ people without realizing that empowerment isn’t something that you can give to people… It isn’t a magic wand- it is something that comes when a person has the opportunity to name, recognize, and understand the structures they have had to navigate within- in order to be able to access their ability and capacity to resist them. It is when people can truly get to a place where they can acknowledge where the boundaries of their personal accountability are and where they aren’t.
It is about teaching people how to use tools to better cope in a world that only favours a few at the expense of many.
The reality is that ignoring these power structures, systemic oppressions, and cultural narratives puts the onus on the patient alone to take accountability for their lives and struggles, without also discussing how sometimes *cough, often, cough* there are many things put in place to have people fail and /or recreate these systems from day one.
A final thought is that therapists who avidly avoid politics are also picking political systems to operate within by refusing to recognize them. Nothing is apolitical- pretending it is, is also a politic… (One that causes more harm than good).
Hey University of Victoria, I’m just curious….
How many bicycle theft complainants have had to go through EQHR or the Judicial affairs process before they were counted as stats?
Do thefts have to be reported to the police, have the thief found, and have Crown prosecute them before they count in campus security’s stats?
Seriously…. I wanna know.
Do those who have had their bikes stolen by someone they know get counted? What if they previously loaned it to someone and that person decided to take it without asking? What if they brought their bike to school knowing theft was a risk? What if they didn’t report the theft to campus security until the next day?
Do those count towards your stats?
*Why do your reported numbers for sexual assault vastly under-represent those that have actually reported being assaulted?*
I have seen a lot of talk from folks about the statement Jamie Cassels released today about sexualized violence.
I have already posted my thoughts on it in relation to sexualized violence that has been making the news, but I would also like to acknowledge the violence that isn’t making the news…
Yesterday Uvic hosted their second “Moving Trans History Forward” conference and the reality is that along with the overwhelming rates at which sexualized violence happens- folks who hold certain identities are represented at significant rates in those stats; including queer and trans students.
Publicly, UVic is seen as a pillar of trans/queer leadership… But behind closed doors in meetings in both the SUB and Student Affairs office, Uvic has acknowledged that they have failed us when it comes to policies and procedures, while outwardly promoting Uvic as a safe place.
I would just like to name that I use Uvic as a person because certain people are representative of the institution. Some people I am referring to as #Uvicare:
-Jamie Cassels (Uvic President)
-Jim Dunsdon (The Associate VP of Student Affairs)
-Grace Wong Sneddon (Advisor to the Provost on Equity and Diversity)
-Jon Derry (Manager of Policy Development and Judicial Affairs)
-Gillian Cornwall (Positive Space Network and Student Recruitment Communications Assistant)
-Valerie Kuehne (Vice-President Academic and Provost)
-Aaron Devor (The World’s First Trans Chair).
Almost 9 months ago, some of these folks (Jim, Jon, and Grace) promised to release a statement that would speak to what a bunch of us have been saying ever since the crosswalk was painted- It is not enough.
They have not followed through on this promise- because it would undermine their credibility as a queer friendly campus. In fact, they were the ones to suggest a public media statement and then dragged the meetings on for months with no follow-through on the original promise.
Instead, they got recognized for having the first ever trans chair and then proceeded to blatantly lie and twist the truth about policies, services, and amenities.
In doing so, they chose to ignore the violence they have had an active hand in, and covered it up by glossing over the concerns with pretty half-truths that make people want to feel feel warm, fuzzy, and proud about, while cashing in well over a million dollars in these last 9 months, specifically because they are publicly known for being a trans-friendly institution.
(Although, now I can see how a public statement would impact this immense amount of funding and if I cared more about money than people, I wouldn’t release the promised statement either….)
By doing this, they have sent the message to the greater campus community that those ‘few activists’ are unfounded and hysterical…. I don’t think it is hysterical to demand safety on a campus that presents itself as safe. I have been stalked, harassed, sexually assaulted, threatened, trolled, and doxxed all during my time at University of Victoria, but mostly after I first started speaking out about the hypocrisy uvic has displayed in regards to safety.
I transferred to Uvic from a small University on the mainland because it was promoted as safe, progressive, and inclusive…. I transferred here with a perfect GPA and a lot of excitement and hope. I now am no longer in classes, not registered for an upcoming semester and wondering why I spent thousands of dollars to be threatened and harassed all last semester (which conveniently started after Gillian Cornwall made a post about the crosswalk protest on her social media that did not even closely represent what happened- inciting students who didn’t know the full story.)
This really gets me because when reading the statement released today- it still effectively washes over the reality of violence on campus and the university’s complicity in that violence. It ignores the fact that those who have been speaking out against violence are receiving severe backlash from trolls and uniformed students who look to the university and hear radio silence, effectively saying “We wont stop you”…. Hell, they wont even report it in their crime stats…
The worst part in reading Cassels statement, is knowing the only reason they have released the statement is to try to ‘get ahead’ of the criticism that is making waves in both media and government.
It is gross and the reality is that it again tokenizes those who’ve experienced violence while managing to still come out looking like they are compassionate leaders in these conversations.
I am tired of being hurt at Uvic and then being exploited by Uvic.
I want real actual change. I want to feel safe on campus and know that if I experience violence it will be statistically counted, I will be offered a multitude of supports, and I will have specific policies in place to protect me.
Anything less is an utter failure.
First I want to acknowledge that Jamie Cassels statement can be celebratory for folks and those who’ve been impacted by sexualized violence and that is 100% absolutely without a doubt, valid. Anyone with these experiences can feel however they want about this piece…. I understand that after so long of Uvic not saying anything- this can be a lot. The reality is Uvic has had many opportunities and this is the first time they are explicitly stating that sexualized violence is a big issue.
Keeping that in mind, I too am entitled to form my own thoughts and feelings about this-
I get how this can be a step in the right direction…. but it feels so fake to me and very dismissive of the realities even still….. Uvic has a knack for still finding ways to make themselves look good and protect their precious image….
Reading this has made me so angry.
I do not experience this is as any acknowledgement…. I find it insulting frown emoticon
Uvic has, yet again, tried to spin the realities of violence on campus to still come out in their favour.
“The University of Victoria is committed to the principles of equal rights and dignity of all persons and to being a place where students, faculty and staff can learn, work and live with mutual respect in a safe community.” LIE
“I want to make it clear that sexual assault and other unwelcome sexual conduct are utterly at odds with our values and are not tolerated.” LIE.
“UVic has policies and practices related to education, prevention and response to sexualized violence.” LIE. (The only things in place are a direct result of students, the Student Union, and student groups/advocacy that Uvic claims as their own.(
“Recent focus on this issue on our campus and beyond, as well as advocacy by student and other groups, have made it clear that we need to do more.” LIE….
It is fear of losing the image of being the pillars of a progressive, safe, and inclusive campus now that this has made the media and provincial recognition. (Yes, students made it clear, but UVic didn’t care until it threatened their precious image).
And even though his saying “however, on our campus, as well as at other universities and in the wider community, sexual and gender-based violence is a significant issue” sheds light on the realities- it also serves to water down UVic’s complicity.
This is so ridiculous it makes my head spin. So they’ve been locked behind closed doors panicing about losing their reputation and are trying to get ahead of this while still not acknowledging the ACTIVE and CONTINUAL efforts to silence, intimidate, and harm those who’ve experienced sexualized violence on campus.
This statement says nothing about that. It is no acknowledgement. It is no apology. It is a way to make UVic look like they have our best interests at heart when they are still thinking about their damn image and pocketbooks.
This is GASLIGHTING.
This is pretending the severe level of under-reporting and intimidation and silencing has not occurred at there just was some kind of miscommunication. They aren’t acknowledging the amount of harm they have actively caused. They are also still claiming to be the ones putting forward amazing initiatives when it was always the students and the student union doing so.
They silence sexual assault survivors because they could get away with it.
Now when they are getting pressure in the media and from government they cave and release a shitty statement that acknowledges nothing and commits to nothing.
What a joke. This is insulting.