Statement regarding Dr. Janice Raymond speak at the Montreal Massacre Memorial

Friday, November 22, 2013

Every year, since December 6th, 1989 when 14 female engineering students at École Polytechnique were massacred by a man who stated that he "hated feminists", Vancouver Rape Relief has been marking the day to memorialize the women he killed and to strengthen our fight to end male violence against women. We feature topics and speakers at the Vancouver Public Library based on what are the most pressing issues and what the public in Vancouver would find most educational.  In 2013, by far one of the most prominent debates is Canada's laws surrounding prostitution, which the Supreme Court of Canada is currently deciding.

Given that, we have invited one of the leading, internationally-recognized, advocates and scholars on that issue, Dr. Janice G. Raymond to speak about her extensive equality-seeking work on prostitution as a form of violence against women.

Dr. Raymond is a Professor Emerita of Women's Studies and Medical Ethics at the University of Massachusetts and the former executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CAT-W).  Her new book is entitled "Not a Choice, Not a Job: Exposing the Myths about Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade".  

Her expertise has been instrumental in campaigning to have prostitution recognized as a form of violence against women — a view shared by many equality-seeking women's groups across Canada.  Janice's research and advocacy helped define the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (Palermo Protocol).  She is an important and highly valued ally in the fight to end the prostitution and trafficking of women and girls worldwide and we are honoured to have her speaking at the Montreal Massacre Memorial.

Since the controversy in the past few days surrounding our decision to invite Dr. Janice Raymond, we have received many letters of appreciation and donations from around the world. We are encouraged and grateful for this support.

In Solidarity,

The collective of Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter