TORONTO, April 24, 2018 /CNW/ - North York Women's Shelter (NYWS) is calling on public officials to address violence against women as a factor in the Monday afternoon van attack on pedestrians in North York. The shelter's Executive Director Mohini Datta-Ray expressed deep condolences to all those affected on behalf of her organization. "At NYWS, we grieve this unimaginable tragedy alongside the entire city and know that our community's healing will be long and painful."
Calling it "a horrific incident" Datta-Ray pointed to the attacker's connections to a violent anti-woman online community. There is strong evidence that the attacker, Alek Minassian, was partially motivated by the 'incel' ideology. 'Incel' stands for 'involuntary celibate', and is the moniker used by angry online communities of men who feel entitled to, but deprived of, sex with women whom they desire. Reports indicate Minassian took inspiration for his attack from Elliot Roger, a young man who went on a 2014 mass murdering spree in California, as a result of this 'incel' ideology.
"What happened on Monday seems beyond comprehension" said Datta-Ray, "but it follows a highly disturbing logic of woman hatred that is supported by rageful online and in-person toxic masculinity and rape culture. If we as a community are too afraid, unwilling or overwhelmed to expose, resist and address this for what it is, it only gets more oxygen to grow and thrive."
"We call for change. We call on all three levels of government to take a gender lens in their budgets and policies" added Datta-Ray. "We call for investment in effective anti gender based violence education for men and boys. And, we call for comprehensive programs that support the safety, wellbeing and empowerment of women, girls and trans communities. As Monday's horrific events tell us, the urgency is incredibly high."
According to Datta-Ray "although moments of such terror can seem freak or fringe in a city like Toronto, they need to be understood as an extreme expression of a threatening, violent gender dynamic that is much more everyday than most of us like to admit. It's moments like this that present us an opportunity to truly commit to care of one another; to support survivors of violence and their families, and to invest in new ways of holistic care that prevent the spread of hateful politics while empowering whole communities."
NYWS is aware of the dangers of attitudes towards sex and entitlement to the bodies of women rooted in rape culture and misogyny (a hatred of women). Every 6 days in Canada, a woman is murdered as a result of gender-based violence. Research indicates mass murderers often have a history of perpetrating violence towards their female partners.
SOURCE North York Women's Shelter
For further information: Media Contact: Mohini Datta-Ray, Executive Director, North York Women's Shelter, 289-242-8810, [email protected]