Toronto Feminists

Test of a Civilization

I’m a little behind on this story but I came across it today on about a Facebook group set up by Winnipeg residents to share their stories of throwing things at prostitutes on Higgins Street.One group member weakly tried to defend it as “an expression of their anger towards disgusting conditions in the city generally”, these “expressions” apparently take the form of stale tim bits (because fresh ones won’t leave marks), slushies and pennies.  Clearly the people who joined this group don’t consider prostitutes human beings or they wouldn’t have admitted in a public forum to engaging in what amounts to assault.  It also highlights how cavalier many young people are about violence against women and have no issues with attacking the most vulnerable women of all.  Prostitutes being one of, if not the most vulnerable group in society are often targeted by monsters (Jack the Ripper to Robert Picton), isn’t it disturbing that bored and privileged young people think it’s a fun night out to drive by these women and inflict humiliation and PAIN on them?  It’s quite sickening and I’m surprised that people joined this group with their real names but I’m sure they’re regretting it now.

On the bright side, a group lobbying for the removal of this hate-group formed and that organizer said:

I started thinking about what Mahatma Gandhi says, that the test of a civilization is the way, you know, that we treat our most vulnerable members“.  It warms the soul to know that this group vastly outnumbers the original hate-group.


I’m sure something has happened to the group by now but I’m not a member anymore so I can’t check to see if it’s been taken down.  However I thought this is an interesting issue to think about in general. One blogger who wrote on this story mentioned a similar game in Edmonton called ‘spoons’.  I realized it’s very likely something like this goes on in Toronto, I’d like to know if anyone has heard of ‘pranks’ like this growing up in and around our own city. 


Written by outdoorsgrrl

November 12, 2007 at 7:43 pm

2 Responses

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  1. I worked for some years with a prostitute’s rights group in winnipeg, POWER (prostitutes and other women for equal rights) and can attest to the fact that this kind of shit goes on all the time.
    it’s no different than queer bashing, trans bashing, bi bashing, race based bashing, etc. they are all hate crimes, as far as i’m concerned, regardless of whether the human rights commission or charter of rights and freedoms has gotten around to including them on their list.
    folks working in sex trades are considered acceptable targets of violence, by virtue of the work they do…despite the fact that i have met some of the most innovative, creative, intelligent and on the ball women and men I know in that field.
    it is definitely not okay, and those kids are collecting themselves some bad bad karma…what makes it really hard is that they are only replicating and reflecting the biases and prejudices already prevalent in society, and clearly have no older youth, adults, contemporaries or other possible mentors who are challenging these values and attitudes in a way that is working.


    November 12, 2007 at 8:38 pm

  2. As an ex-sex trade worker in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside I actually wrote a story about it here.

    Trisha Baptie

    November 14, 2007 at 5:19 am

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