Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC) acknowledges and condemns the targeted violent attack at a Chabad synagogue in Poway, California, outside San Diego this weekend. Six months after the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, one month since the Christchurch mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, and just one week since the Sri Lanka bombing targeting faith gatherings, we are saddened to see another attack based on intolerance and hate.
We are well aware that social inequalities can and do inform acts of violence that occur in our communities. Intolerance, fear and hatred of difference ‒ too-often fostered by historical inequities amongst social groups, and negative myths about marginalized people and communities ‒ unfortunately continue today.
Violence cannot be separated from a broader context – one in which those targeted, those that perpetrate harm, and the violation itself (or threat of the violation) exist in a larger system of social norms, relations and inequities. This includes social differences informed by gender, race, socioeconomic class and other social locations. Much as our understandings of sexual violence are rooted in a socially-contextualized analysis of violence, broader acts of violence that target particular communities, people, or identities must also be understood this way.
Divisiveness – through attitudes, action or inaction – and violence must be met head-on. This may be done through increased public awareness of these systemic realities, and a united message of support to all communities targeted for their identity.
We offer our deepest condolences to the families of those harmed or lost in recent violent attacks. We stand in solidarity with the community, and with our allies who support diversity, peace, collaboration and mutual respect.
Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC) is a network of community-based sexual assault centres in Ontario. Member centres have been supporting survivors of sexual violence and offering prevention education since 1977: services include counselling to survivors of recent and historical sexual violence, accompaniment to hospital, police and court, advocacy and crisis support. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, go to https://sexualassaultsupport.ca/support/.
Nicole Pietsch, Coordinator, Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC)