What is a feminist analysis and why do we need one as part of the Nova Scotia mass shooting inquiry?
By Jeanne Sarson and Linda MacDonald - August 3, 2020
We make the following disclosures before answering the two questions posed in the title.
Our ethical, professional, and personal writing about the misogynistic roots of male violence against women and girls is influenced, first and foremost, by our different yet similar childhoods of being born to very violent fathers who battered our mothers.
When we were children domestic violence was not a specific crime. Rarely did bystanders appear to care or try to intervene in such so-called “family matters.” Such social dismissals were painful. Today, decades later, although laws have been achieved, dismissal of misogynistic attitudes that contributes to such violence remains, and as evidenced contributed to the mass femicides and homicides of April 2020.
Our second disclosure is that I, Jeanne, experienced the sudden killing of my mother. A drunk driver killed her instantly. Our twin sons were just four. They never had the opportunity to experience a relationship with her as a loving grandmother. I was told the drunk driver had multiple DUIs and the next day appeared in a pub wearing a T-shirt saying “I’m a killer.” This was before MADD Canada became “a national network of victims/survivors and concerned citizens working to stop impaired driving and to support victims/survivors of this violent crime.” When my mother was killed drunk driving was socially dismissed as ‘macho’ or “how young men are.”
Involvement in MADD helps sooth pain and support healing. MADD has transformed social attitudes. Drunk driving is no longer okay behavior. Drunk or alcohol-impaired driving is a criminal offence and MADD worked at developing blood alcohol standards. Such social advocacy efforts can help cope with the pain of unjust losses.
Why a feminist analysis as part of the Nova Scotia mass shooting inquiry?
Working to demand an independent public inquiry, although successful, these past few months of witnessing how hard the families so victimized have battled, has been painful. And this success is only a beginning of their search for truth-telling answers.
Requesting a feminist analysis in the mandate of the inquiry is similar to the social, personal and community, caring MADD has offered since incorporating in Canada in 1989. Like MADD a feminist analysis seeks to prevent ongoing violent behaviors. This means no longer is it acceptable to normalize drunk driving—likewise, it is no longer acceptable to dismiss the misogynistic attitudes that contribute to male violence against women and children that are inflicted in all Nova Scotian and Canadian communities. MADD asked Canadians to change our attitudes, to view drunk driving as a violent crime that kills and causes much pain and suffering. A feminist analysis is asking Nova Scotians to be determined to tackle misogyny to prevent the continuation of all forms of male violence against women and girls—from assaults, serial assaults, torture, femicide, to mass killings that have a connection to spousal or intimate partner violence.
A request for the written inclusion of a feminist analysis as shown in this diagram will not distract from the mandate of the provincial-federal inquiry. Instead, requesting the written inclusion of a feminist analysis directly delivers the opportunity to name misogyny as a social attitude or a hate crime. A social attitude that nurtures violent relationship and community crimes such as the most atrocious mass shooting that Nova Scotian families and communities just suffered. Nova Scotians must be prepared to realize misogynistic-based violent crimes will continue unless directly named and socially addressed as a provincial fact-of-life.