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. . . I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat. . . . Rebecca West

Maybe things are starting to look a bit better? Interview with Ruth Rosen [OFFSITE]

Dismantling the Victim Machine

Godammit, I was molested when I was four, raped when I was 15 and it wasn't fair and it wasn't right. I certainly didn't ask for it and it most definitely was not fun. It was par for the course in hillbilly Saskatchewan.

In those days, women were virtually excluded from most professions. Now there are many many women lawyers. Leslie Sullivan and Sonja Hansen, for instance, prosecuted Martensville and the Foster Parent scandal. Constable Claudia Bryden There are women RCMP officers and some are mature, responsible officers. But there are also the Claudia Brydens (right) (first investigator in Martensville). Social workers? Carol Bunko-Ruys. Psychologists? Margaret Graham Woloshyn. In 2002 we can add Ontario's Christine Bartlett-Hughes and Judge H. Pierce to this list. And of course, south of the border we have Diane Fairstein in New York.

It is a bloody mess. We went from macho-centric hillbilly country to gender-equal hillbilly country. Your basic anti-intellectual braindead province from which most intelligent life fled. What intelligensia remain are holed up in an ivory tower with blinders on.

I was 23 and living in Ontario when, along with three other socialist women I wrote and presented a brief to the Royal commission on the Status of Women headed by Florence Bird in 1968. As we discussed the composition of this brief, it became clear to us that if we wanted equality in the work place, we would have to change many attitudes: we must have reliable child care and share the burden of unpaid labour (housework) with men. Etc., etc., etc. I returned to Saskatchewan in 1971, full of hope.

The recommendations of the Bird commission have been largely implemented. Women have many more opportunities. We have legal protection in many areas. Yet we continue to be victimized and to behave childishly in many situations. One of the worst behaviors is crying and appealing to men's protective instincts -- and then using those instincts against them. This has produced a whole generation of bitter males and confused children. I would venture to say it produced eminem.

I'm sick of it. If we want a decent society, we have to work at it.

Where do we start?

  • It is kind of like being a broken tooth on one of the gears and having to figure out which gear you are and then trying to fix yourself driving down the road. We don't even know if the transmission is automatic or manual. But we know we must act.
  • How do we deconstruct the victim machine? Do we use a chainsaw or a scalpel? How do we find the truth and polish it into a sparkling star? Where do lies go once they are exposed? Do they rot like fallen leaves or do they decay like uranium with half-lives of unknown duration?
    -- Dec. 30, 1999

It started here as everywhere with the struggle for equality rights. The "personal" became "political" and the huge gap between public image and private reality became an abyss. Politics in Saskatchewan has always been dirty and within this cess pool, a lot of scum floated to the top. The money got spent and many saw their affluence slip away. Revenge, greed, ambition, sloth . . . whichever deadly sins fuelled this machine, it's time to take it to the junkyard!

inJusticebusters will continue to name the problems and publish the names of those responsible for the problems. Justice will be served only when those responsible account for their deeds.

30 years ago the burgeoning feminist movement put the ugly underside of women's unequal status on the social agenda. Betty Friedan wrote The Feminist Mystique, young women read Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex and Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook, Canada held a Royal Commission, Women threw off the first chains of reproductive enslavement as birth control was made legal and the pill became widespread. Women worked their way into professions which had been previously overwhelmingly male (medicine, law) and into senior positions in politics, education, trade unions and social work.

Women achieved nothing close to economic equality, but a few more women had a bit more money now than they did in the days when husbands and fathers controlled the bank accounts. Starting from the trite observations that women were exploited as sex objects, that control over our reproductive organs and different arrangements for raising our children, and education were essential before we could step into anything approaching social equality, the struggles and debates took place over every kitchen table, beside ever water cooler, inside every classroom, locker room and blue-collar worksite in the industrial world. The word feminism took on many different meanings. A new breed of partially liberated people took on domestic violence, sexual exploitation of underage persons and other genuine social problems. Some brought insight and intelligence to the cause while others created the victim machine.

Kate Millett (Sexual Politics) and Germaine Greer (The Female Eunoch) presented the case for female equality in honest if angry language. Then came the NFB film Not a Love Story. This began a decade of hysteria culminating in Courage to Heal. This wave of scare material asserted outrageous claims, used grossly inflated statistics and collapsed any pre-established intellectual categories where women and men could speak sensibly about abuse and exploitation.

Not a Love Story starred Robin Morgan, who after editing the anthology Sisterhood is Powerful (which included Valerie Solanas' famous Scum Manifesto - too bad Valerie didn't get some of the money and she might not have shot Andy Warhol). Morgan visited Saskatoon in 1972 shorly before publishing Monster, a rage against UK poet laureatte Ted Hughes accusing him of murdering Sylvia Plath. Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon influenced legislation. Rape Shield laws were enacted on both sides of the border.

In Saskatchewan, Gay Caswell became a spokeswoman for the anti-abortion side of the movement, which exalted motherhoodPhyllis Schaffley and family to saintly status. She won an American award from Phyllis Schaffley's (left) organization and went on to serve as a Member of the Legislative Assembly in Grant Devine's government for one term. She was a controversial figure. She and her husband John had children, adopted children and fostered children. She was instrumental in pushing for more compensation for foster parents in the early 80's. Her own competence as a parent was challenged, she was defeated in her second bid for public office and her influence plummeted as quickly as it had arisen. She was both a creator and a victim of the victim machine.

Susan FaludiEllen Bass became to therapy what Robin Morgan had been to culture -- they pushed a candied poison far more dangerous than the "enemies" they claimed for the movement. Marilyn French (Beyond Power) and Susan Faludi (left) (Backlash) brought some reason to the issue in the early 90's but by that time whole university sociology departments and other spaces in the academy had been taken over by people drunk on their own feelings of victimization. In the name of science, they fudged statistics, created new (and utterly unfounded) methods of teaching, therapy, counselling, and, particularly within the colleges of law, ethics. The first wave and a half of feminists went after THE MAN, a generic as well as gender-accurate description of abusive power; this new bunch went after any man who happened to be closeby and vulnerable. Then they went after each other. One of the most notorious legal achievements of this lot was the enactment of rape shield laws and the increased admissibility -- and even the preferability -- of uncorroborated testimony in courtrooms all over the continent. ! The calculated use of tears in court was also refined (See Claudia Bryden)

"Networking" as a response to "old boys' clubs" created nepotism which made many old boys look like infants by comparison! If the old ways of helping out your buddies, getting them appointments and jobs, showing them the quickest routes to the troughs and slushbuckets were corrupt, the girls have certainly matched them and have found innovative ways to outdo them. Thus was created the Victim Machine! In Saskatoon, Carol Bunko armed with a minimum degree, got herself hefty daily stipends for taking Social Services wards to a the Colonial Motel to swim all day! Getting money as a contract worker was far more lucrative than actually being on Socal Service's regular payroll! She had her own agency up and ready to run when she hit the jackpot with the Ross children. She had by this time married and hyphenated her name to Bunko-Ruys. A close study of her 1991 report shows how she cleverly persuaded Saskatchewan Crown prosecutors that ritual abuse in Saskatchewan. Stupidity and blind ambition are the only reasons I can think to explain why they fell for it!

For this victim, who started LAAW, Legal Aid for Abused Women every day is like Christmas, and no doubt for the lawyers, too! Whether or not O.J. Simpson was guilty, Johnny Cochran managed to insist on consistent, corroboratiive evidence and because the People did not provide it, his acquittal was just. Nicole Brown has now become a staple in the Victim industry.

Canadian Justice funds studies which keep Victim Machine careers alive while women and children continue to launguish in poverty, the single most significant factor in crime! This Arizona project is flashy and up-to-date.

The deck got shuffled, and now men and women are getting together again: men and women who support the new regime and the men and women who want public and private accountability, inside and outside court. Within these camps are many discussions of how best to arrive at the respective goals. Ms Magazine online is a platform for middle class American womenGloria Steinam who are more concerned about women in Afghanistan than the dispossessed at home. Of course Ms. was the original home of Robin Morgan and some other creators of the victim machine. Gloria Steinam (left) managed to escape with her sense of humour and integrity intact and wrote a useful book about self-esteem. But see Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), and BATTERED WOMEN AND THEIR CHILDREN: Reports and Papers to see the "activist" and "academic" parts of the victim mill with mixed and confusing agendas.

Elder abuse: Is it really so widespread or another suggestion designed to inflame and outrage? (The hysteria machine) Or, as the general public tone has become more greedy and less empathetic, is abuse of all vulnerable creatures inevitable?

see the social science and humanities projectswhere Canada is investing $30 million dollars over six years as "strategic grants". We don't see anything about justice. We are suspicious because the strategy is simple. The academy gets to give "expert" cover to government bungling in exchange for money to hire more academics who know which side their bread is buttered on.

Human Rights commissions were ostensibly established to protect persons from abuse of their rights as set out by, among other things, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Just go to this site to see the shift of their focus. This is another make-work project for people who don't know what the hell they are doing and care only about their right to have cushy jobs in a protected organization. Have you tried to get help from them lately? No doubt you got a letter back telling you that the person you were asking about either was or was not part of a "protected group!" No wonder a lot of Canadians have become cynical about affirmative action and minority rights legislation!

If you would like to experience just how bad things are in Saskatchewan, check out the page below, which is what you will find if you go searching on an engine for a crisis line in Canada. Try phoning the numbers. Many of them lead to suicide hotlines, ( [defunct]) (another newly created career opportunity for a wide range of unqualified people) and others will lead to answering machines which screen the calls to determine if this is a crisis they really want to get involved in. If there is a child to apprehend (work for social workers and family court workers) or a person to be locked up (work for police), they will take the call and take the easiest route to make work for their cronies.

February, 1999: In Ottawa, homeless and poor people received this welcome from the cops! Does anybody give a damn?

People get grants to start projects which don't get finished because the funding ran out. The Internet is full of pages that unqualified people were given money to put up, and then were abandoned when the grant ran out! The funding money has run out. That site is gone or abandoned with outdated information! Many people who thought they should run the world are now on the loose. They may have lost their jobs, but they still have their ambition and rather too much self-esteem! Punishing them is the only reason one could possibly justify building more jails!

There is still hope: Judith Levine