Statement on the misogynistic events at the Dalhousie School of Dentistry

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 17th, 2014
Statement on the misogynistic events at the Dalhousie School of Dentistry
By the South House Sexual and Gender Resource Centre

We, the Board and Staff of the South House Sexual and Gender ResourceCentre, would like to express our outrage and disgust over the misogynistic “Gentlemen’s Club” and subsequent sexual harassment, hate speech, and violence that it has inflicted. We are appalled that this rampant misogyny and harassment has come to light on our campus but we know that this is just yet another campus of the rape culture that exists everyday on our campus.

This group and its explicitly violent presence on Facebook existed for the sole purpose of targeting, sexualizing, objectifying, harassing, and belittling women. It was created by misogynistic men in the school of dentistry who do not even see women as human beings, let alone anything more than disposable sexual objects. We were horrified and triggered to see jokes about date rape and aggravated assault by the group and we demand immediate action by President Richard Florizone and Dalhousie University. .

President Florizone: suspension of exams is not enough. These men must be expelled immediately and then prevented from ever practicing medicine. They must never be registered as professionals or hold positions of power in any way. But this is just the bare minimum of actions that we would like to see Dalhousie take. We demand that this be seen as an impetus for immediate action against all forms of gender-based violence, at all levels of Dalhousie’s colleges, programs, classrooms, policies, and faculties.

Rampant misogyny exists everyday on our campus, hence the very existence of our resource centre. We want to name the sexist, racist, colonialist, and patriarchal roots of the academic industrial complex itself and continue the work of resisting all boys clubs and male-dominated spaces on individual, interpersonal, and institutional levels. This incident is only one manifestation of deeply entrenched power dynamics and the very systemic fear tactics that push marginalized people out of learning by creating dangerous, hostile environments. It is completely unacceptable.

President Florizone: it is time to take a stand against sexist violence on our campus. We implore you to use this incident to set a national standard that women matter more than tuition. We implore you to resist the compulsion to make apologies, protect, or forgive these men for their deplorable actions. Forgiving their behaviour is violent, apologizing for it is actively investing in rape culture, and ignoring this in the hope that it will just go away sets a dangerous, shameful standard. We the staff and students of Dalhousie university demand and deserve better.

The South House stands in solidarity with these women and all people who are survivors of sexualized violence. We want to work with Dalhousie to to implement mandatory survivor-centred workshops and education on gender-based violence at all levels of the university because we believe that this learning is just as crucial as academic study and that it is critical that Dalhousie demonstrate that we are committing to making an immediate shift in our actions and accountability measures.

We invite everyone to please sign this petition and send a clear message to President Florizone that this violence will not be tolerated. It is time to step up.

In the coming days and weeks the South House will be posting regular commentary, resources, and links to university campuses that have handled similar situations well. If anybody reading this is in need of resources or support, please be in touch with us.

Click to sign the petition here: http://goo.gl/PngA58

Visit our website for a resource directory: www.southhousehalifax.ca
Contact us:
outreach@southhousehalifax.ca
volunteer@southhousehalifax.ca
board@southhousehalifax.ca

In rage and solidarity,

Jude Ashburn
Carmella Farahbakhsh
Harry Makohoniuk
Alexandra Killham
Sarah Trower
Caitlin Meiklejohn
Katelyn Armstrong
Lily Corne Klein
Madison Foster
Samuel Mason
Hannah Milley
and volunteers

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