Intersectional feminism and fighting sexual exploitation: Montrealers celebrate International Women’s Day

Montrealers gathered Sunday to celebrate International Women’s Day in many different ways, but all with the same goal — protect women’s rights.

The Committee of Women of Diverse Origins (WDO) gathered hand-in-hand as they marched through downtown Montreal in their annual demonstration.

The march, which has been going on for the past 18 years, is aimed at mobilizing resistance against patriarchy, capitalism, imperialism, colonialism and racism.

Feminism believes in the equality of men and women, simply, but beyond that, it aims to resist against oppression of all kinds.

“The march is really to bring together of various groups of diverse origins to come together to celebrate all the gains we have made throughout the years,” said Thelma Castro, from PINAY, a Filipino women’s organization. “And also to be able to continue to fight for social justice.”

The WDO supports the “resistance and liberation struggles of the people of Palestine, the Kurdish people, the people of the Philippines and other colonized and oppressed countries, particularly the Indigenous peoples of Canada,” as indicated on their website.

The protesters at the march paid special attention to the rights of Indigenous women as tensions continue to rise in the  Wet’suwet’en Nation in British Columbia, and justice has yet to be served for the missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada.

On the other side of town, a protest took place in front of the MindGeek headquarters, the company behind Pornhub.

The demonstration called for the site to be shut down due to allegations the company is aiding and profiting off of the sex trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and children, according to the press release.

Megan Walker, the executive director of the London Abused Women’s Centre in Ontario, led the protest on Sunday.

“Pornhub is facilitating child pornography and normalizing men’s violence against women resulting in sexual exploitation, trafficking, torture and death,” said Walker. “Sexual exploitation and trafficking are illegal. The government’s failure to take action puts the lives of all women and girls at risk.”

Protesters claim Pornhub doesn’t do enough to verify where the content is coming.

“Free sharing porn sites like Pornhub don’t have any age restrictions, anybody who has access to the internet can see their video,” said protester James Douglas. “A lot of young men and women grow up to think the content on these sites are normal. It’s very violent and misleading.”

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