Rampage:the pathology of an epidemic

Rampage:the pathology of an epidemic
book cover

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Winning an Award

Who said winning doesn't matter? Well, I did, five minutes before I won. I went to the Arty Awards (sponsored by the Abbotsford Art's Council) on Saturday night and didn't think I would win a Literary Award because 3 years ago I won the Outstanding Instructor Award--really, I didn't think I could win twice but I am glad I did.
The Literary Award means a lot to me-all the years of writing, teaching writing, working at being a writer . . .feels like an award well-deserved to me. I pretended I was sick for 3 weeks when I was 14 and stayed home from school to write my first novel. Over the next almost 50 years I have been a working writer; editor, publisher, freelance writer, journalist, playwright, poet. 
I have taught children, youth, people with brain injuries . . .and I have promoted, mentored and been a writer all of my life.  When they called my name I felt very proud. The three years I spent working on my book Rampage;the pathology of an epidemic were the hardest writing years of my life.  Who said winning doesn't matter . . .i t does!
After we published my book; we published my husband Dave's book of poetry Knee-Slapper and my poetry collection bruises and bad haircuts.  We have three viable and interesting literary works that will look great in our new art's centre in Port Alberni . . . can't wait to get there, can't wait to move on.  It feels like creatively I have gone as far as I can in the Fraser Valley.  But wait . . . don't write me off yet (that is what you do to writers, kill them with cliches like write me off)--we are producing The Vagina Monologues one more time (shows number 19/20) March 24th and doing the Memory March on the 25th in Abbotsford and I am sure there is a lot more to come whether we move by next May or not.
That is one of the wonderful things about being a writer---it doesn't matter how old you are, it is never too late to start and you don't have to retire.  Metaphors be with you!


We have decided we like the creativity and art feel of Vancouver Island. And of course it helps that our son and family (precious grandkids) have moved there, so we are leaving the Fraser Valley and moving to the Island. So, our house is for sale by owner right now;
3 bedroom, updated, stylish laminate flooring, gas fireplace, roof is only 4 years old, hot water tank is only 3 years old. Our house backs onto a beautiful little park--lots of trees, shurbs and plants in the yard; a kind of little zen space in the back.
We are listing the house for $339,900 and that includes fridge, gas stove, dishwasher, washer, dryer and all window coverings. We are even incluidng the 42" flat screen tv that is mounted on a dark wood stand attached to the wall and a bamboo mirror attached to the bedroom floor, closet built-ins.
We are going to open a funky little art's business in Port Alberni; a place where we can sell books, do our radio plays and offer local artist's a place to perform and hang their fine art. Of course I will do theatre and writing workshops and my daughter-in-law Jennifer is going to take on some arts and crafts workshops. Perhaps a recording stuio on-site--lots of big plans. But we need to sell our house in Abbotsford first. If you are interested in a 'ready to move into' home in Abbotsford or know anyone who is . . .send them my way.

Tuesday 5 July 2011

"A HumanMade Affair"

“A Human-Made Affair”:

Art Matter’s Society presents a two day event at the Kariton Gallery in conjunction with the Abbotsford Art’s Council.  Saturday, September 24 and Sunday the 25th .  Saturday is  a global day of 100 Poets For Change where organizers hope that poets, singers and speakers will gather at 11 AM. In Abbotsford that is a TBA location as of yet.  The displays and workshops will be starting at 1 PM at the Kariton Gallery.
A Human Made Affair will run from 10 AM-4 PM featuring workshops on ‘made’ items that relate to books like making bookmarks, altered books, steam punk books and there will be workshops on both days on Self-publishing by Penny-a-Line Promotions.
In the evening from 6:30-9:30 PM join poets, writers and performance artists for readings, mingling and conversation.
We are looking for Fraser Valley writers who want to read from their work—there is also an opportunity for their chapbook of poetry or novel to be sold at the two-day event. We are still open to any book-related workshop ideas anyone might want to offer.
Contact Gwynne at gwynne1@telus.net

Monday 6 June 2011

What is a feminist?

Tired of arguing what it meant to be a feminist, I decided to find out just what a feminist is . . .to me it used to be burning my bra, taking birth control pills, free love and taking a stand for equality for women.  Life was a lot simpler in 1969 when all I had to worry about was free choice, equality and misogynistic pigs.  Younger women look at me and ask, “There are all kinds of feminists, what kind are you?”
What kind?  It made me think about what feminism means now and what it meant in the past.  I knew what some of the ideals of feminism were but had to do research to sort through.  I also wanted to answer the question; is the women’s movement dead? Old feminists who run non-profit organizations and women involved in action committees often lament, “We need to mobilize, the women’s movement is dead.” 
            So, what is feminism and is the women’s movement dead? 
Liberal feminism is a philosophy based on the principal of individual liberty.  Liberal feminists believe that inequality of women stems from the denial of equal rights and from a learned reluctance to demand equality.  As suggested by the term liberal, these feminists believe that equality is gained through social and legal reform.  I don’t think I am a liberal feminist.  I agree in part but can’t commit.
            In the seventies I thought I was part of the radical feminist movement.  I certainly was radical but I have never completely believed that women’s oppression is the worst form of human oppression.  Although I embraced women controlling sexuality by way of birth control and abortion when I was twenty, I no longer see things that way.   I know I will create a lot of argument by saying this, but the so-called sexual revolution destroyed a lot of women.  In an attempt to be in control, many women ended up being promiscuous, having abortions they didn’t want and instead of being a strong woman, lost self-esteem and clarity.  The major goal of radical feminism was to eliminate violence against women by men.  A worthy goal but we didn’t succeed.  I am no longer a radical feminist.
            The roots of socialist feminism were planted in the 19th century but still are at the core of all feminist belief today . . . women’s work is underpaid.  It is a lot more complicated than that and led to Marxist feminism which sought the dissolution of women’s economic dependence from men.  Both valid and good points but limited in scope to what I think a feminist is.
            In the seventies lesbian feminist called for the complete upheaval of the sexist patriarchal system.  That didn’t work in the mainstream but spawned many womyn-only events.  Lesbians were labeled racist and exclusionary and today the lesbian feminist movement is but a shadow of what it was.
            I had never heard of standpoint or anti-racist feminists but apparently they arose out of the fear that mainstream feminism was too focused on white, middle-class women.  This type of feminism looks at the needs of women as individuals by trying to understand the context in which certain groups of women live.
            When I got older I considered myself a not-so-radical feminist.  But after researching the topic discovered I was a radical feminist by definition.  Now I appear to be a post-modern feminist. Post-modern feminism seeks social harmony rather than gender equality. The ideal is equal rights among genders, no blaming and placing less emphasis on the physical differences between men and women. Departing from other feminist beliefs, post-modern feminism places the responsibility for the actions of the movement on the individual rather than the government.
            There is a lot of argument over the new wave of feminism saying it is too kind and gentle to make any change.  I would point out here that the histrionics of the past have not stopped the highways from being littered with murdered women.  Taking responsibility for our own actions and the choices we make makes more sense to me then finger pointing and blaming. Men are as frightened in today’s world as we are.  Men are as addicted and abused as we are.  We live in a diseased society.
            Naomi Wolfe is considered to be one of America’s foremost feminist thinkers and while she has come under attack for having visions of Jesus she says quite simply, “I believe each of us is here to repair the world.  She calls the feminist movement fractured and is aware that people are waiting for the Jewish girl to cross-over.  Feminist critics accuse that there is no room within feminism for spiritualism. Just a thought, but maybe that is why the movement is fractured.
            The women’s movement was strong in the sixties and seventies and brought with it positive change but it seems that now the women’s movement has turned on itself. There are women’s groups that war with one another; definitions have become more important than truth, and women do not support one another.  Is the underlying discord about non-profits chasing government funding dollars?
            The women’s movement was an amazing force and should not be written off because of the internal weakness now.  Maybe the focus is on individuals and our ability to make change one person at a time; stand for what we believe in and not be swayed by political funding.  Too many sisters have been bought off by political patriarchal sugar-daddies who write the cheques.  I refuse to say, “in solidarity’ anymore.  It has lost its meaning unless you belong to a union.
            I know this view will make me unpopular but I am unpopular anyway.  I don’t conform to the standards set by the women’s groups with the money.  I’m not angry at men or governments, just tired.  Tired that women and children are still being killed and recognizing that the disease runs deeper then violent men acting out rage against women and children.  It is time for us all of us to stand on our own to heal and love and care.  Reach out and help another woman who is struggling, take a moment to mentor a child, stand up against the bullshit and the rhetoric.  Women are dying; ravaged by beatings, burnings and brutality. 
            The women’s movement is dead because the strong thinking women who fueled the fire quit fire-walking and are now only poking the fire with sticks. 

Friday 27 May 2011

Spreading the Word

Copies of my book Ramapge:the pathology of an epidemic can be found at three locaitons on the Island so far.
Volume One Books, Duncan
Ten Old Books, Duncan
Salamander Books, Ladysmith
See info on Arty Award information below!
There is a great website http://www.peacexpeace.org/ and they have just published a portion of my piece Can We End Violence Against Women--check it out.  This is the second time they have included my work on their pages and I am honoured by that. Women from all over the world share their stories and concerns on these pages.  I am also publishing health and life-related articles on my Hub Pages-check that out as well. Don't forget my original site http://www.ragmag.net/ where you can find a ton of stuff including some of my lighter and funnier pieces.
There are a lot of self-published writers out there who are finding it hard to promote their books--a friend of mine Shelley Haggard just released her book of poetry The Haggard Road and I would like to offer these pages to other writers as well--send me your stuff and let's create a space to share our work.
Shelley Haggard was born and raised in Fort St. John, BC and has since lived in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, and now resides in Mission. She began writing at an early age and likes to say she has left no inner or outer stone un-turned. She has won several prizes in poetry contests and has been published widely in various anthologies; many of those poems are included in this first book effort. Another creative interest is photography and some of her photography is included as well. Reading her poetry and stories in public is another area of strength for Shelley. Please check out her video poems at www.youtube.com/shelleyhaggardpoems Shelley Haggard

"I have tried with this first book to share my love of writing and occasionally the spark of where an idea germinates from. I feel there are many poems in this volume for the reader to connect to. The photos stand alone as stories and sometimes punctuate the poetry. I am very proud of this effort and hope you'll enjoy the ride on The Haggard Road. The cover photo ended up inspiring the book title; it is a real road sign from Barriere, BC (with a 'The' photoshopped in) where my father's side of the family has its roots."
In keeping with promoting writers and other creative folks Art Matters Society is planning a Human-Made Event this Fall in Abbotsford--a chance for artists, writers and photographers to show their stuff--if you are interested, get in touch.  gwynne1@telus.net
Although the Arty Awards have been postponed until October 22 2011 (Abbotsford Art's Council)--we had a reception to receive our Arty Award Nomination Certificates (May 28)-I received one for Literary Arts. They took a few photos and I posted the one above of me -in black, in front and a couple of other nominees.  The only other person I know at this time who has been nominated is Dave Farmer for Art's Supporter-the Art's Council has yet to release the names. My apologies to my fellow nominees in the photo, I will list everyone's names as soon as I receive them.

Thursday 12 May 2011

Violence Against Women

Violence against women---will it ever end?
by Gwynne Hunt

Violence against women is a well-documented fact.  I have spent the last six years researching and compiling a database of names of missing and murdered women and children. It started with Mary Billy’s Facing the Horror: The Femicide List. Doing research for a play I was working on, I tracked the book to a dusty shelf at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC.  After contacting Mary she agreed to send me the original newspaper clippings she had gathered over ten years of sitting at her kitchen table doing the research alone.
Mary’s collection of names and stories were self-published to a poor response.  It seems nobody cared.  When I got the book I sat down and read the 400-page manuscript and as Mary had predicted it was a case of facing the horror. I read page after page with dread and sadness.  Sometimes Mary’s pain is an overwhelming shadow on the pages.  I found myself running my finger over a name like you do when you find a loved one’s name on a headstone.  There was so much sadness on the pages I was overwhelmed with grief. Mary had collected and told the stories of 1, 850 women murdered since 1989 when Marc Lepine went on a rampage and killed thirteen students and one female employee at Ecole Polytechnique, Universite de Montreal.
When the newspaper clippings arrived in carefully labeled photo albums I knew I had to archive her work and began to cross-reference, research and start a database.  I realized I could not only become ‘the keeper of the list’, I had to do something with it. For five years now we have held a Memory March to honour and inform.  I’ve written two plays that have been performed around the lower mainland, Vancouver and the Fraser Valley; Mary’s List and Missing. I have just completed a book called Rampage; the pathology of an epidemic and in it I tell the stories, present the list and offer some causes and concerns. Why are we not ending the violence?
Not that I care for labels but I would have to define myself as a post-modern feminist-activist seeking social harmony rather than gender equality. That is not always popular with die-hard radical feminists who only wanted to end violence against women when the journey began back in the seventies.  But all the bra-burning and ‘womyn-only’ events have not changed the way society sees and treats women. I no longer think it is ideal to blame one gender.  We must put the responsibility for the actions of the movement on the individual rather than the government.  We have to stop placing blame.
Reports from Canadian women reveal that 81% have been pushed, shoved or grabbed; 61% have been threatened or hit; 44% have had something thrown at them; 38% have been beaten or choked; 35% were slapped, 27% were kicked, beat or hit, and 16% were sexually assaulted.  Between 1994 and 2003, a history of family violence was present in 6 out of 10 spousal abuse cases. It is a generational problem and the cycle needs to be broken. But a new statistic that has arisen that should cause great sadness is that older women are more likely to be assaulted by family members then older men.  In fact four out of ten older women will be abused and touched by violence.
            Sexual assault and abuse pervasively run through this country like a quiet stream.  Studies show that among adult Canadians 53 % were sexually abused as children and something we rarely talk about is that 31% of men were sexually abused. It is no wonder we live in violent and broken societies.  A 2005 report by the Canadian Centre for Justice tracks family violence and reports on the effect the statistics have on our communities. It was discovered that on any typical day in 2004, there were 6,000 women and children in shelters, the majority of which were there to escape abuse.
 Women are more likely to miss work later in life if they experienced violence in their lives. Health-related costs to sexual abuse and violence reached into the billions of dollars by the nineties.   Our prisons are full of men and women who committed crimes while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  Approximately 80% of major crimes are committed while under the influence.  The majority of people with addictions come from violent or abusive backgrounds. We go around and around, slapping band aid solutions on a gaping wound that cannot he healed.
Child sexual abuse is not something you can ‘get over’ with a few visits to the counselor. But there is a lot more than sexual abuse that is keeping this country sick and troubled; abandonment issues can cause problems in later life.  Many children are in foster care, given up for adoption, left unprotected by a parent and lose a loved one at an early age.  Even being left in the hospital at a young age can have traumatic outcomes.
However we can’t blame the parents and the caregivers, it is time for the wounded to take responsibility for themselves and find a way to be productive, healthy members of society.  Too many people shelve their abuse, neglect or the violence and never deal with it.  You have to. We need to be aware of the issues that affect people before we can change the role that society plays.
 Sexual assault is a difficult issue to deal with but what exactly is sexual assault? The Department of Justice defines sexual assault as forcing someone to engage in sexual intercourse or any other sexual act, not stopping sexual contact when asked to and any kissing, fondling, touching, oral/anal sex or sexual intercourse without consent.
Sexual abuse involves using a child for sexual purposes; fondling, inviting a child to touch or be touched sexually, intercourse, rape, incest, sodomy, exhibitionism, or involving a child in prostitution or pornography. If you think about it, it would be hard not to know someone who has been subject to one or several of the above definitions. It would seem that the 53 % of women and 31% of men is a low number given the definitions.
This is a societal problem but the ability to stop this abuse and violence is in the home where we know that children under the age of twelve are most likely to be sexually assaulted. And it is not of any surprise that 97% of all sexual assaults are at the hands of men and as only 20% are stranger assaults we only have to look at our fractured families to find the sickness. 64% of sexual assaults take place in the home
We first have to recognize the role we play and then take steps to stop the violence and abuse. Abuse and neglect cause a mental disorder and you can’t just ‘suck it up’ and ‘get on with life’.  If you are a survivor, and most of us are, take some steps to heal yourself and then you can help others in your family by example.  Break the cycle, break the silence.
Recognize that you don’t want to stay stuck in the place you are in and quit feeling sorry for yourself, quit masking your feelings with drugs and alcohol; quit running away. Recognize that you have a legitimate reason for being angry but you need to forgive the abuser and yourself in order to heal and move on.   There are no simple answers to healing a broken soul.  Take the first step; recognize you are broken and then seek ways to become whole. We can stop the violence, neglect and abuse one brave person at a time.
Society needs honour women; in their roles as mothers, wives, sisters, grandmas, aunts.  The stigma of being a sex trade worker or drug addict needs to be addressed with love and compassion.  We need to quit looking at women who are violated and murdered and think, ‘that won’t happen to me—I live in a good neighborhood, I don’t sell my body or hitchhike or live on a reserve’.  That type of racist, blame-thinking keeps us feeling superior and untouchable. And yet domestic violence is the reason most women are murdered.
When was the last time you stood up at a party and admonished a joke-teller who was telling demeaning jokes about women, or about anybody?  When was the last time you checked the video games your son was playing—violent games that award scores for killing ‘hookers’?
We are all responsible for the missing women and the murdered women and children.  We should not allow violent material, pornography and sexist video games in our homes. Our boys are growing up with less respect for women than their fathers had and that is a scary thought. 
We have to change the language we use.  We need to quit allowing pornography into our homes and boycott movies that desensitize rape and murder.  We have to stop buying products from companies that produce commercials that objectify women.  An obsessive addiction to pornography has been linked to serial killers but at the very least the violence we absorb is turning our children into uncaring violence junkies.
            Mary Billy believes that we won’t see a decline in violence because, as she says, “We live in a patriarchal society and any time we forget that, we are dreaming in technicolour. Even our police system is a semi-military organization.  It is well-known that over one-third of all female police officers, firefighters and military women are raped or suffer sexual harassment.”
Homicides of women appear to be down slightly but violence reports are higher.  Statistics Canada has shown a dip in the numbers of women killed every year from over 200 to between 165-175.  Seventeen percent of Canadians accused of murder in 2006 were accused of murdering a spouse of former spouse—72% of the victims were women.  Over the eleven previous years, the rate was 82%.  But I maintain that there are so many missing women we cannot determine if they are dead and if we knew the real numbers, they would be up not down. How do we know that a large number of missing women are not dead? Serial killers are smarter, sneakier and more aware of how to hide bodies then ever before. 
There has been a lot of controversy over Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside murdered and missing women.  It took years of agitating by family members and friends to get the police to do anything about the large numbers of missing women.  Many argued that had the women been from middle-class or nice neighborhoods the cops would have been looking for them a lot sooner.  That is true.  If sixty-nine (the number changes depending on what agency is involved but sixty-nine was the highest number to appear on the list at one time) women disappeared from a good neighbourhood there would have been search parties.  There would have been a public outcry, wouldn’t there? 
            Canadians have to stop looking at murdered women as belonging to individual ethnic groups or from sharing particular socio-economic backgrounds, certain neighborhoods, or as being involved in a dangerous trade, or having a particular addiction; all women are in danger.   Lines should not be drawn.  It keeps us too focused on coming up with excuses.  We need to focus on the reasons that we allow such anger and violence against women.  We not only allow it, we breed it.  The youngest domestic violence victim between 2003-2005 in Ontario was only fifteen, the oldest victim was 89.
The same report listed the most common form of death was stabbing which is personal—the rate was 41 %. 
            As long as we base ending violence on funding we will never make significant changes. Women’s groups compete with each other to fund programs. Strong feminists, who used to fire-walk, now simply circle the flames poking the ashes with sticks.  It is my experience that women’s groups do not support one-another.  There should be no competition in the war against ending violence.
            As I interviewed grassroots workers for my book and compiled the list, I felt more despair and frustration because I could not find a definitive answer.  We have problems with our justice system—with ineffective restraining orders, light sentences, early parole.  We label and dissect women, objectify and demean women.  We look to the government to solve all our community problems—hands out-stretched for more money to fix this or end that; instead of taking control of the problem in our own homes first, in our hearts
and in our lives.  We are so used to quick-fixes we get lost in the fine balance of healing our communities.  We have lost our vision in many cases.
            Women stood together to get the right to vote, in the sixties and seventies women stood together to get better pay, better child care, health care, education and to end violence.  Huge goals have been achieved in pay equity, child care, health care and education but we are stuck with the violence we grew up with still surrounding us.  In that respect, we have not come a long way. 
            We need to respect the missing and murdered women with memorials—the memorials we have now across Canada are mostly for the 14 women killed in 1989; a few for individual women who were murdered.  Where is the memorial –the black wall that would stretch across this country naming the dead, paying tribute to women who have been killed?  Even in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside when we hold our marches and walk to Thornton Park—we sit on benches that have been erected to honour the fourteen women killed in Montreal.  What about the women killed by Willie Pickton—the women murdered and taken from the streets—where is their memorial?
            Feminist Marilyn French once said that’ patriarchy is tricky and we mustn’t underestimate it.  It is enormously difficult to reduce violence’.  We have to begin.  Every member of society has to take responsibility.  Eliminate the negative words we call women.  Don’t ask what she was wearing when she was raped. Don’t feel good and safe because she was in the wrong part of town.  Do not get comfortable in your home—most women die there.  Do not get comfortable with your age—more grandmothers are being killed than ever before.  It is part of that problem we have with fractured families, a lot of time grandma is the one taking care of the neglected angry grandson.
            In 2004 a 14 year old mentally troubled boy raped and defiled his grandmother in Winnipeg. Because he can’t be named, neither can she—she is on my list as 79 year old unnamed grandmother. I want to honour her. Her grandson smothered her and her nude body was spray painted and stuffed into a closet.  She had been repeatedly raped and disfigured with a knife following her death.  Even her dog had been poisoned. She struggled fiercely to survive and we can only imagine her suffering.  He got six years. Lucky for us, he did not get out in 2010 because he has not cooperated in prison—he is frequently caught with pornography in his cell and masturbating in front of female guards.  But he will get out and he will live next door to one of us.

Tuesday 3 May 2011

So you want to be a writer . . .

Creative Journaling
With Gwynne Hunt
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail--Abraham Maslow

We are always told to write what we know--so as you begin your writing journey you need to write about the things you are familiar with.  That is why starting a journal is the best way to get the creative juices going and to start writing. Here are some memory sparkers to get you started and some thoughts on why we write and where to begin . . .

Changing our perspective can totally shift our experience of pain. We can stand back and be more objective. We can detach from pain and the memory. We can put meaning or love or humour into the situation. We can feel better about who we are.  We always have a choice; we can stay stuck in a memory or we can pull ourselves free and watch our life drift to a new level. We all have releasing to do, whether it is around parents, addictions, health, conflict, money, death, guilt or resentment—whatever.

1.       Select one of the most challenging times you have had in your life. Write about this event in detail from the three different perspectives outlined below.
a)       Getting started:  Revisit the situation in depth. Describe the details of the event. Now identify the challenge. It’s OK to feel emotional.
b)       Go deeper:           Now revisit the above situation from the perspective of a neutral observer who is watching everything unfold.
c)       Reach higher:  Now visit the situation again from the perspective of your higher power (God, Mother Earth, nature, Buddha-it doesn’t matter-what belief system establishes your ethics and morals?)
2.       Five senses-choose one word and define the look, sound, smell, taste, feel
a)       obsession
b)       fate
c)       midnight
d)       crimson
e)       promise
f)         yesterday
g)       truth
      3. Windows in the world-write the following scenes through the eyes of someone who is
a)       in love
b)       bored
c)       in love
d)       being followed
e)       depressed
f)         angry
Scenes—1. a lake in the fall   2. a fairground    3.  summer at the beach  4.  a supermarket aisle
5.       a wedding  6.  a funeral from a distance
4.       Mythic questions:  this is an autobiography flash-write at least a couple of pages on:
Joy & gratitude, how do you celebrate your skills, longing, creativity, loneliness, compassion, fear of failure, horror, wonder & awe, why do we exist? What’s wrong?, What’s right? goals and how to achieve them . . .

Feel free to send your work to me-I will post it on my pages and if you ask, I will gladly do a personal critique for you.

Monday 25 April 2011

One person at a time . . .

My book was released on March 19, 2011
Rampage:the pathology of an epidemic
I am currently working on finding ways to present my book and to continue my work to help end violence against women and children. Visit my new blog spots & my original website http://www.ragmag.net/
Check out a great site  http://www.humanmade.net/
They posted my book info on there. I also have a new blog to check out.
If you know of a group who would like to have me speak, give me a call . . .please forward on the blog info to people who may be interested (let's stay connected)and send the press release below out to others who share a common  bond of wanting to end violence and see the world for women a better place.  We can change the world one person at a time.
Gwynne Hunt

Thursday 14 April 2011

Reader's respond

I just found this on tumblr. As I don't know the person who wrote it-did not put a name with the quote . . .
Reading the new book, "Rampage: the pathology of an epidemic"
It’s by Gwynne Hunt and it is basically a book about a list.  Specifically, the Femicide List.  Gwynne Hunt took over the task of compiling a list of all the murdered/missing women across Canada (and children, as well, eventually) from Mary Billy in, approximately, 2005.
In “Rampage” she gives the reader a list of names, one letter list per chapter, and offers comments and stories about her experiences putting the list together, organizing marches, and, most commonly, about the victims listed.  I’m only on the “third” chapter (letter C) so it’s not very far in at all…  But already I think this is a worthwhile read.  Even if it’s painful.
뿐 구조적인 불평등과 폭력에 문제제기는 못 한다는 사실이 갑갑하고, 어떻게든 이런 제약을 타파할 길을 찾고 
Hi Gwynne

I just finished reading Rampage and I have to say I think you did a hell of a job on it. I know you got started on the 'List' thanks to Mary Billy but I have to say I thought the way you formatted the names in the book made it easier to digest the sad content. I am sorry as hell for the women who have been murdered and or disappeared. I am sorry that you have this enormous responsibility of trying to record these terrible events but I wanted you to know I am grateful for the truth of what goes on in our big back yard of a country. My words are small and may not reach many ears but I will keep writing and trying to bring the issue to light.
Your book is HUGE and I know you will keep the faith. Your book, your work, is amazing and I have the utmost respect for everything you do. You are brave and strong and wise and don't forget how pivotal this work will be to effecting change. Just hang in there, you and Mary will see, I know it!

much love Shelley
(Shelley Haggard-poet-Mission, BC)

Hi Gwynne,
Got the book yesterday and read it cover to cover. Other than too much Mary Billy, it's a terrific thing you've done. It brings it all back, that deep, deep hurt to the heart at the violent nature of these murders. Such hatred against women, it boggles the mind. And makes me think there is something much deeper going on. I wonder what that is?
Thanks again for this huge effort. You must be proud. I hope you are. None of us can fix it alone, but each step each of us takes counts in the overall solution, or at least betterment of treatment of women. Not to say that we don't still have a long, long way to go.
I hope this book gets the exposure it so deserves. Stay in touch and let me know how it goes, okay?
(Mary Billy-poet-activist-Squamish, BC)

Hi Gwynne:

I rec'd your book yesterday and read it from front to back last p.m.  You
did a great job and I commend you for your tenacity. I certainly identified
when you mentioned how mentally exhausting it is to maintain the list and
try hard not to internalize how tragic these senseless deaths are.  I now
realize why at times, I just can't open the file and begin new postings.
Also, we are on the same page where our thinking is concerned.  I agree that
we need both genders to speak against the violence and male bashing solves
Thank you so much for allowing me to contribute to your book. 
I have recommended to a couple of people to send away for it.

(Barbara Mills-activist-Toronto, ON)

<a href="http://www.addme.com/submission/free-submission-start.php%22%3ESearch Engine Submission - AddMe</a>

Wednesday 13 April 2011


Every year 160-200 women are killed in Canada. We know about 100 children are murdered every year as well. What are we doing about it?
Do you even know what is going on in your back yard? next door?  What about in your own house? Do you use derogatory language when talking about women, allow sexist video games in your home, tell blonde jokes?
We have to change our language and the way we talk about women, the way we label them, dissect them and demean them.  I've spent the last six years working on The List of 4,000 missing and murdered women and children in Canada-3 years on my newly released book Rampage:the pathology of an epidemic. For five years now we have been doing the Memory March-a walk/vigil to honour the women and children. But for many years before that I have worked in my own way to help ease the violence against women by doing Spirit to Heal workshops, producing plays with an anti-violence message and by my other writings.
I would love to come to your group meeting, your club, organization or event and speak about the issues we are facing and how we can change the way we think, how we can make a difference.
Contact me at gwynne1@telus.net to book a time.  We can change the world one person at a time.

I am available to do presentations about the research I did for the last six years in order to write the book Rampage;the pathology of an epidemic. It all began innocently enough---I had just finished my play Missing (toured lower mainland, fraser valley and Vancouver) and was researching for a new play. I wanted to write about the Highway of Tears. Missing is about Verna Bjerky who vanished from Hope, BC in 1981 and about the women who went missing from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
I realized that there was no list of missing and murdered women and children. Nobody was keeping track. I've always been a ferret when it comes to digging deeper and nosing around---I ended it up discovering a book called The Femicide List that was sitting on a shelf at Simon Fraser Library Archives written by Mary Billy from Squamish, BC.  I had heard of Mary who published a feminist magazine in the 1990s called Herspectives.
I called Mary, got a copy of her List of 1, 875 names and that is how it all began. I hae worked on The List for 6 years now-adding names as I research and discover new names. Most date back to 1989 after the Montreal Masscare but as I found names I put them on The List even if they were from the 60s or 70s. It didn't matter when they were killed or went missing, the idea had already begun to have a yearly Memory March to honour and inform.
We held the first one five years ago in Vancouver and the last one in 2011 we held in Abbotsford. Three years ago I was so amazed by the people that I met while working on The List; grassroots workers who cared and were keeping their own smaller lists, working on policy changes, public awareness, but all united by the passion to end violence against women and children, that I decided to write a book.  The book is about that journey.
Rampage: the pathology of an epidemic is about a lot more-compelling and interesting, it tells many stories and discusses some of the roadblocks.  I wish I could say there were answers but I have not found one answer; many solutions that should be taken but no real answer.
To order the book email me at gwynne1@telus.net
$22 plus HST and shipping=$29.64
If you would like me to speak at an event, workshop, gathering . . .let me know. This is my life's work.

Monday 11 April 2011

Rampage:the pathology of an epidemic

I am a publisher of small poetry chapbooks, memoirs, social activism books and cookbooks. As a writer, creative writing teacher and as a playwright, I offer all editing and writing services.
"Rampage; the pathology of an epidemic" is my new book. The cover is a painting by Kristen Hunt-Jones and winner of the People's Choice award for a 2010 Amnesty International fundraiser event in Vancouver.
On March 19th, ‘Rampage; the pathology of an epidemic’ written by Gwynne Hunt (me) was released at the International Celebration of Women in Abbotsford. The book is my personal journey over the last six years working on the book and the Memory March (a walk/vigil honouring over 4,000 missing and murdered women and children in Canada). It includes interviews with grassroots' workers she met. There are a lot of individual, concerned people who work to end violence against women. One of those women is Mary Billy, a writer and activist in Squamish. There are interviews, case stories and conversations with family member’s who have lost loved ones. The book is not about how we are going to end the violence but an examination of the problems, concerns and stereotypical thinking that keeps us trapped in a cycle of violence. Included are the names of 4,000 missing and murdered women and children that have been compiled for The List.
The book archives the struggles of grassroots' workers who actively try to raise awareness and focus a light on the violence against women. Domestic violence accounts for most of the murders but media tends to focus on ethnic groups and women at risk. All women are at risk and it is time society stood up united to end the violence.