Three male authors – Rob Budde, Phinder Dulai, and kevin mcpherson eckhoff – in collaboration with Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs (CCWWP), and Canadian Women in the Literary Arts (CWILA) have released “A Statement Against the Culture of Male Privilege and Abuse of Power in Canadian Creative Writing Programs,” in which the authors state: “We are men, people with male privilege, and people who male-identify, and we write this letter…. in public support of women who have endured and continue to endure abuse, discrimination, or silencing by creative writing communities within post-secondary institutions.”
The statement identifies ongoing and long-standing systemic misogyny and gender-based violence in post-secondary literary communities against women and those who self-identify or present as females, and asks “that men, people with male privilege, and male-identifying people in creative writing institutions, like ourselves, consider their complicity in the ongoing cycle of sexual discrimination and violence.”
The letter goes on to issue a combination of call-to-arms and cri de coeur, stating:
- we believe survivors and encourage them to tell their stories with as little resistance as possible, and will denounce any acts of victim-blaming.
- we challenge institutions that support and have supported known abusers (including universities, residencies, journals, fellowships, and conferences) to develop concrete policies to create a safe environment for women.
- we hold ourselves accountable and we will work to address male privilege within our own practice and spheres of influence.
- we call for gender sensitivity and equity training and clear statements of codes of conduct surrounding sexual abuse in creative writing programs and institutions.
More than 60 authors have added their names to the statement, including Gary Barwin, Andrew Westoll, Sean Cranbury, and Michael Bryson. A few women authors, including Fauzia Rafique and Jen Sookfong Lee, are also signatories.