Tonight’s city council meeting will be the site of a demonstration by the Pulling Roots group who will be peacefully demonstrating against violence towards women and the local leaders who do nothing to stop it.
Pulling Roots Simcoe is a group of women and allies who meet and organize demonstrations to help spread the awareness of a plight that has recently been in local news. Theresa VandeBurgt is the group’s media contact but is a part of a larger team who help organize and explains why this is happening tonight.
“This demonstration is a response to the backlash women and their supporters have faced in light of recent events relating to the #MeToo movement,” said VandeBurgt. “A large reaction has been to attack women through social media, which in itself is a form of violence against women. We are here to show our support of women and survivors, and that we will no longer stand for silence.”
The group began in December of this past year around the time the #MeToo movement got popular. The recent allegations of sexual misconduct against former Ontario Conservative Party leader Patrick Brown has reinvigorated the group’s cause with a Facebook page stating:
Social media has been alight with sympathy for Brown and support for 'men’s rights' by those who fear the pendulum has swung too far with the #MeToo movement.
The incident has unleashed a torrent of invective against those 'anonymous accusers' who 'ruin' the lives of respectable men on the whim of 'mere say-so '.
The target? Women. An online petition  for the Simcoe North MPP, titled 'Justice for Patrick Brown' which aims to punish false allegations and 'bring justice to MEN again' has gathered over 10,000 signatures, including that of Barrie Ward 2 Councillor Rose Romita  and Springwater Ward 4 Councillor Sandy McConkey. Patrick Brown’s own response on Twitter has been to feebly praise the #MeToo movement while denouncing 'false accusations' and promising to deliver 'the truth'.
Brown recently came out with what he calls proof that his accusers are lying and his determined to clear his name. The event’s page for tonight’s X Protest says that the group doesn’t “have a problem of false accusations - we have a problem of normalizing violence against women and girls.” VandeBurgt insists that the group is about more than the Brown incident and will fight for all situations.
“The fact is that this is not about one particular event,” said VandeBurgt. “This is about experiences of women being commonly shared, and voices often being silenced. It is time to step up, and demand better for women, to protect and believe those who both have the courage to share their stories and who choose to keep those stories protected.”
Tonight’s demonstration will take place in council chambers as organizers ask anyone who is looking to support the cause to meet at 6:45 p.m. at 70 Collier St. outside city hall.
Signs are welcome and the group is hoping for allies in their plight. Demonstrators will wear tape in the form of an “X” over their mouths and the group promises to drop a banner for councillors to see. Pamphlets will be handed out before the group then heads to Hooligans at 66 Dunlop Street East, which partly owned by Brown.
For more information go to the Facebook page