Saturday, December 6, 2014

Remembering the Montreal Massacre 25 years later. A passage from Andrea Dworkin

"I think that one of the most important commitments that anyone can make to life or to feminism is to make sure that you deserve your death if you die at the hands of a misogynist, that you have done everything that he in his mind accuses you of, that every act of treason he is killing you for is one you have committed. Like many women, I have a long history of violence against me, and I say, to my increasing shame, that everyone who has hurt me is still walking around. They’re fine. Nothing has happened to them. And when I look at my own life, I think about the difference between being beaten because I didn’t clean the refrigerator and having my life threatened because I am fighting the pornographers. There is a better and a worse, and it is better to encounter anything when you have made a choice that puts you where you want to be, fighting for your own freedom and fighting for the freedom of the women around you. Feminists should remember that while we often don’t take ourselves very seriously, the men around us often do. I think that the way we can honor these women who were executed, for crimes that they may or may not have committed--which is to say, for political crimes--is to commit every crime for which they were executed, crimes against male supremacy, crimes against the right to rape, crimes against the male ownership of women, crimes against the male monopoly of public space and public discourse. We have to stop men from hurting women in everyday life, in ordinary life, in the home, in the bed, in the street, and in the engineering school. We have to take public power away from men whether they like it or not and no matter what they do. If we have to fight back with arms, then we have to fight back with arms. One way or another we have to disarm men. We have to be the women who stand between men and the women they want to hurt. We have to end the impunity of men, which is what they have, for hurting women in all the ways they systematically do hurt us.

The feminist is the woman who is there not because she is his woman, but because she is the sister of the woman he is being a weapon against. Feminism exists so that no woman ever has to face her oppressor in a vacuum, alone. It exists to break down the privacy in which men rape, beat, and kill women. What I am saying is that every one of us has the responsibility to be the woman [that prick] wanted to murder. We need to live with that honor, that courage. We need to put fear aside. We need to endure. We need to create. We need to resist, and we need to stop dedicating the other 364 days of the year to forgetting everything we know. We need to remember every day, not only on December 6. We need to consecrate our lives to what we know and to our resistance to the male power used against us."

From "Mass Murder in Montreal" in Life and Death by Andrea Dworkin (The Free Press, New York, NY, 1997).

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