“Echoes of the Holocaust” and the defamation of lived genocide

Originally posted on October 19, 2010 at Students for Reproductive Justice

Beginning with the 2010 school year, the University of Victoria’s Student Society (UVSS) decided to re-instate the previously revoked club status and funding of UVic’s anti- choice club, Youth Protecting Youth (YPY). Within a matter of weeks, YPY announced they were hosting Jose Ruba and his presentation “Echoes of the Holocaust”. (Warning: The content of the rest of this website is very graphic and may be triggering for some viewers. Please be cautioned in exploring this site).

The history of this club has not been without deep controversy and debate. YPY lost its funding last year due to the fact they brought the “Feminist for Life” poster campaign to UVIc as well as anti-choice speaker Stephanie Gray. Both these events caused numerous students and student clubs to file official complaints and ultimately led to YPY’s loss of club status and funding. However, due to an out of court settlement, YPY was regained club status and student funding. It is important to note that re-granting the funding and status to YPY had nothing to do with an admittance of wrongdoing or guilt but a mere lack of resources on part of the UVSS. Ironically, YPY ‘out-funded’ the debate about funding.

“Echoes of the Holocaust” is a presentation that compares the medical procedure of abortion to historical genocides, specifically the Holocaust. It uses graphic imagery of purported aborted fetuses juxtaposed with photos of lived genocides, such as the Holocaust. “Echoes of the Holocaust” depicts images of actual genocides and uses them to further their own anti-choice and anti-woman agenda. Acceptable? That’s a big no. This highly offensive and problematic presentation ultimately deems women who have had abortions to perpetrators of genocide, and in this case, labels them as Nazi’s. SRJ firmly believes this is not only incredibly racist and anti-semitic but it also compromises the safety of many students at UVic who find this type of rhetoric threatening. In true YPY fashion, this club has shown no respect or regard for the implications of such a project and the complex intersections of identities  at UVIc that may find this material triggering. SRJ believes there is a way to represent ideas and stances in a way that is factual, creative and poignant. However, likening women to Nazi’s is not acceptable. End of story.

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