Dear Members of the Gender Studies Community,
I am saddened, horrified and enraged by the recent murders of Sarah Everard in the UK and of eight people in Atlanta, seven of whom were women and six of whom were women of Asian descent. Many details of the Atlanta murders are still uncertain, but at this time, four of the US victims have been identified: Delaina Ashley Yaun; Xiaojie Tan; Daoyou Feng; and Paul Andre Michels.
These murders are a brutal reminder of the persistence of misogyny, violence against women, and in the case of the Atlanta murders, of anti-Asian racism, white supremacy and whorephobia. Violence against women and anti-Asian hate crimes have risen dramatically over the past year, during the pandemic. A statement released by the Chinese Canadian National Council’s (CCNC) Toronto Chapter, Butterfly Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Network, and other groups states that over 1000 case of anti-Asian racism in Canada have been reported to them, and women are most often targeted. They state:
Similar to the United States, intersecting sexism, whorephobia, and racism in Canada result in the dehumanization of Asian and migrant sex workers and massage parlour workers. This violence is not isolated and stems from a long history of fetishizing, hypersexualizing and marginalizing Asian women. Anti migrant and anti sex worker legislation promote and encourage hate towards Asian migrant sex workers, labelling them as undeserving and unworthy of rights and protection.
Members of the Gender Studies community — students, alumni, staff and faculty—are at the forefront of efforts to build a more just and loving world, where all can flourish. It is challenging, difficult, exhausting and vitally important work. These recent horrific events remind us of the urgency of anti-oppressive, liberatory, and solidarity work, and how much more there is to do. While we continue to press for systemic structural change, please know there are supports available if you need help to navigate distress or violence.
Students can make an appointment at Student Wellness Services, or call Good2Talk, at 1-866-925-5454, for support. There are also International Student Advisors at the Queen’s University International Center (QUIC).
Queen's employees and their families can contact their Employee and Family Assistance Program through Homewood Health at 1-800-663-1142 or 1-866-398-9505. If you are a woman who is experiencing or has experienced violence or abuse, and would like to talk with someone for emotional support, safety planning, or crisis counselling, you can phone the Assaulted Women’s Helpline at 1-866-863-0511. It is free, confidential and anonymous. If you are deaf, deaf-blind, or hard of hearing, the Assaulted Women’s Helpline has a TTY line available at 1-866-863-7868, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
Please take good care of yourselves.
Head, Department of Gender Studies