Women's groups react strongly to street preacher
By Jenny Yuen ,Toronto Sun
First posted: Monday, July 16, 2012 04:50 PM EDT | Updated: Monday, July 16, 2012 04:59 PM EDT
TORONTO - A law forcing women to dress conservatively to prevent sex assaults would “push the blame onto victims,” women’s groups said Monday.
Calling Muslim street preacher Al-Haashim Kamena Atangana’s proposal of changing Canadian laws to require women to cover themselves “offensive,” the executive director of Nellie’s said how a woman dresses has nothing to do with sexual assaults.
“I would like to find out the stats in the Muslim countries,” said Margarita Mendez, who heads the abused women’s shelter in Toronto. “The issue is the violence against women, power and control and it has nothing to do with how women dress. I find his views very oppressive and it’s blaming the victim when we don’t have control over men who are abusive.”
Atangana has been criticized since he publicly announced his views Sunday for women to have a “dress code.” The preacher also commended Const. Michael Sanguinetti for advising a group of York University students last year women should avoid “dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”
But many women claim those views are out of line.
“Who’s going to be passing a law like that in Canada?” Mendez added. “This is against women’s right to safety and women’s right to say no, regardless of how they’re dress. No means no. Don’t try to force me dress in a way that’s not within my culture or beliefs.”
Harmy Mendoza of the Woman Abuse Council of Toronto recalled her “blood boiling” after reading Atangana’s stated beliefs in the Toronto Sun.
“Women are not to be blamed in this country or any other country in the world,” she said. “These ideas have to be challenged.”
The York Federation of Students couldn’t be reached for comment.http://www.torontosun.com/2012/07/16/wo ... t-preacher