Monday, June 23, 2008

Things that Make You Go Hmmm....*

A report released today found that Toronto’s population of homeless womyn face high rates of assault, both physical and sexual, and almost every participant in the study had a major physical health problem. Not to mention depression, anxiety, stress, etc. The report found that homeless womyn face overwhelmingly more issues than homeless men.

In fact, the report finds that “Homeless women in Toronto are 10 times more likely to be sexually assaulted and twice as likely to have a mental illness as homeless men”.

Now for anyone working in social services or in the area of social justice, this is pretty obvious stuff. Sad and upsetting but not shocking. But this report is important for policy issues and for a general wake up call to Canadians as a whole.

Reading comments on, there were a lot of “How can this be happening in Canada?” “We can send money to Afghanistan, but not to Toronto. What’s wrong with us?” Stuff that I would completely agree with. Homeless is not a cut and dry issue but it is embarrassing than in a country like ours, that this is happening, especially in Toronto or Ottawa or Northern regions where the winters are deadly. It’s deadly and a really sick reflection of Canadians talking the talking but not wanting to walk the walk.

Especially when you read the majority of the comments on You know, the ones who spew age-old bullshit about how homeless people are lazy and violent bastards who aren’t to be trusted because DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THAT HOMELESS GUY WHO BUSED HERE FROM CALIFORNIA?! YEAH, HE WAS TOTALLY RICH AND HE CAME HERE TO STEAL FROM US BECAUSE WE’RE ALL SUCKERS. You know, those classic lines.


Click on over to a story about a dog that was found badly beaten on a beach in Newfoundland and you get a flood of “We really need to do something about animal abusers.” “We need stricter laws and direct action”.

I’ll admit. The dog story is horrific and incredibly sad, but so is the fact that 84% of homeless womyn surveyed in Toronto had at least 1 serious health condition. And I’m not advocating one or the other. You can advocate for the homeless and for animal rights. In fact, I highly suggest it.

But I think we also need to question why people are so quick to defend animals but downright spiteful of the homeless.

To me, that’s the saddest part of all.

**In honour of my 50th post, a cookie to whoever can figure out where the title of this post is from...


Vanity... it keeps the fug away said...

C+C music factory.

Too easy!

Vanity... it keeps the fug away said...

With regards to your post though, I'm glad you brought this up as I have always wondered about this but never had any factual evidence behind my presuppositions. Yet another sad stat with regards to women in Canada. And women in general. And Canada in general. Good grief.

Vanity... it keeps the fug away said...

Hey, where's my cookie?

Mary said...

The thought behind that, I think, is that people should be able to defend themselves. Animals don't know any better.

A person will no walk towards another person who looks completely sketchy, holding a knife.

A dog, on the other hand, will most likely go see that sketchy person, not even thinking twice about it.

This is why,in my opinion, people don't care so much for people, but care plenty for animal abuse.

I see your side too: some people are helpless too, and don't know any better. I guess in a way, if someone gets beaten, they can get to the hospital, if a dog is beaten, not only does it have a lower tolerance, but it doesn't know where to go, to get fixed up...

There's too many if's, then's, but's, and maybe's in this topic. It's one of those topics that will never be understood by everyone.

Feminist Catalyst said...

To the Vanity Project -

Unfortunately, you do not receive a cookie because you may have been the first to comment but H-Dawg was the first to tell me so she was rewarded :)

Feminist Catalyst said...

Mary - Thanks for your comment but I don't seem to follow your line of argument...

I didn't mean to imply that the homeless are "helpless". They do need the assistance of others in many cases (but not always) but I do believe homeless people have agency. I think comparing homeless people to dogs is demeaning and not in any way what I was trying to do.

I was simply trying to draw a parallel between the reactions people have of abuse to animals and abuse to the homeless. As I said, I don't think people need to choose between supporting the homeless or supporting animals, but I think that if I had to be provocative and say which is worse, I'll choose human rights abuses anyday. But I don't think that's what it's about.

Mary said...

Maybe I just didn't explain myself properly.

Long story short, In my point of view, humans can defend themselves, but animals can't.

Like I said, it's one of those topics that are hard to explain.