A few days ago, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a statement regarding a public outcry for a national inquiry into the multitude of murders and kidnappings of Aboriginal women. Making up 4.3% of the Canadian population, Aboriginal women account for 16% of murdered…
As a society, we’re not serious about ending violence against women. We pay great lip service to the idea, but we aren’t willing to interrogate the ways in which we have accepted gendered violence in our everyday lives.
We teach boys this general message about how they’re supposed to “respect women” while writing off all behavior that is blatantly disrespectful (and dangerous) toward women as “boys being boys.” It starts young, when every hair pull, pinch, slap, push, and shove boys exact on girls is written off because “boys will be boys” and that’s how they flirt. No, that’s how they hit girls. Any message to the contrary only further perpetuates the idea that all of this is OK.
Then they get older and any time they get into a physical altercation with a girl, we spend more time asking about how they were “provoked” than what they should have done instead of putting their hands on a girl.
Then they become adults and the police and lawyers and judges downplay the seriousness of their offenses. And they get to say “that’s not the person I am” or “I take full responsibility” and voila, they’re completely absolved.
Where the fuck is the respect?
It should be pretty obvious why this fails, right? If the reason you shouldn’t hurt people is because you should “respect” them, then the moment someone loses your respect, they become vulnerable to violence from you. Some losses of respect are legitimate (i.e. the person did something very bad and now you don’t respect them), some are not (i.e. the person violated gender norms and now you don’t respect them), but regardless of what they did, they don’t deserve violence.
And some people are never considered “respectable” at all, because we don’t consciously include them when we say things like “respect women.”
Read that commentary, yo.
The phrase “rubber bullets” is often used to describe what are more accurately termed “rubber-coated metal bullets”, heavy steel projectiles with a minimal coating of 1mm or 2mm of rubber, that are regularly used to lethal effect alongside — not instead of — live ammunition.
Rubber-coated metal bullets are fired from metal tubes placed on the end of high-velocity rifles such as the M-16s commonly used by Israeli troops. Tubes contain around 8 rubber-coated, cylindrical, steel projectiles, which are powered by blank rounds fired from the gun’s magazine.
Writing in the medical journal, The Lancet, [doctors] said firing the bullets at civilians made it “impossible to avoid severe injuries to vulnerable body regions such as the head, neck and upper torso, leading to substantial mortality, morbidity and disability.”
They added: “We reported a substantial number of severe injuries and fatalities inflicted by use of rubber bullets when vulnerable upper-body regions such as the head, neck and upper torso were struck.
“This type of ammunition should therefore not be considered a safe method of crowd control.”