Dear Editor,
No Excuse for Abuse

Re: Niagara Region councillor taken aback by ‘hurtful’ online attack, April 30

Niagara’s Committee to End Violence Against Women (CEVAW) is deeply disturbed by the offensive, misogynistic remarks made by podcaster Jim Fannon toward Laura Ip, a respected member of Niagara regional council.

There is no excuse for his hateful and profanity-ridden rant about Ip or feminists in general on his recent video entitled “Radical Feminist Pigs and My Twitter Rage and Hate”. When he was interviewed by a local reporter, Fannon explained that he had consumed a few drinks, it was late at night and he could have been “a little classier, more mature about it”. Not only is this an understatement, but it is a feeble attempt to dismiss abhorrent behaviour rather than account for it.

Fannon also justified his comments by saying that he was “frustrated” with what he considers Ip’s lack of respect for people of faith, particularly Christians. Again, there is no excuse for such hateful remarks in our society directed toward women, regardless of anyone’s religious, political or cultural beliefs.

Ip is not alone amongst women in politics and leadership who are regularly subjected to verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, and sexual harassment by men, which can be as damaging as physical assaults. These misogynistic attacks, whose ultimate goal is to stifle and suppress women, create entry barriers which perpetuate the underrepresentation of women in leadership.

Violence against women is a serious issue in this country and around the world. Like many abusers, Fannon provides excuses for his behaviour in an attempt to minimize and normalize it; we must name it for what it is – abuse. The members of CEVAW, a Niagara-based coalition of 24 agencies, hope that others will join us in taking a stand against the toleration of any type of violence against women. This behaviour should never be tolerated, nor excused.

We wish to express our support for Coun. Ip, and stand with her as she deals with the impacts of this, and other, attacks and continues to represent the residents of St. Catharines on regional council with integrity and transparency.

Tanja Loeb, CEVAW Chair
On behalf of CEVAW Members