Nanaimo rally to support Island woman beaten at Million March for Children

Speakers use art, songs, and chants to call for an end to political attacks on women

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Nanaimo, January 30 – Local residents held a vigil at the Nanaimo courthouse today to support a Vancouver Island mother who was bashed in the face at a public event about safeguarding children. A half dozen supporters braved rain and wind to sing, chant, and wave hand-made signs and artwork.

Supporters at the vigil held signs and artwork with the messages “No More Violence,” “Women Will Speak,” “Respect Your Mother,” “Stop Bashing Women,” and “Mother is Female.” The centrepiece was a two-meter-tall acrylic painting of a mother bear and her cubs, painted by “T,” a 53-year-old mother of two. Passers-by on Chapel Street stopped to listen to the speakers, while drivers honked and waved in approval.

T, who asked to remain anonymous, was attacked in October 2023 in front of Nanaimo City Hall during the 1 Million March for Children, where marchers denounced teaching children about changing their gender. Nicholas James Matear, a 33-year-old Nanaimo man, was with the anti-March counterprotest on the opposite side of the street before he allegedly punched T in the head, knocking her down and breaking her nose.

Witnesses say Matear was holding a sign with the slogan “No Place for Hate” when he allegedly slammed his fist into T's face. Nanaimo RCMP detained him briefly at the scene and later charged him with assault. He is scheduled to appear in court February 27.

T describes the attack as lasting “half a second” but notes the man seemed to be stalking her. She says she was holding a sign with the words “Get the Cult Out of Schools” when a large man dressed in black crossed the street towards her. The man pushed a “No Place for Hate” sign in her face, but T retreated into the crowd along the sidewalk, "feeling distressed and looking for safety," she says.  

Finding a quiet spot at the edge of the crowd, T stepped out into the street and raised her sign again. That's when the man reappeared, she reports. 

 “He walks right up to me and puts his sign back in my face. The sign is about a foot away from my face,” she said. 

I lift my hand and grab his sign, then pull it down. In one motion, as I pull the sign away from my face, his fist comes pummeling in,” she recalls. “His punch sent me all the way to the curb. I flew more than the width of a car and landed partly on the sidewalk.” 

“My body twists and flies backward and I land face down, half in the gutter with my head and arms on the sidewalk.”

“We’re here to rally around a brave woman standing up for her beliefs,” said vigil organizer Tara Prema of “She did not deserve that abuse. There is no excuse for abuse. We believe in freedom of speech and freedom of belief for women, and we’re not going to shut up.”

“I’m horrified that this woman suffered a beating because a man disagreed with her politics, and that it happened in broad daylight in front of City Hall and dozens of witnesses,” Prema said. “She is half his size and she was trying to avoid a confrontation. This is political violence – trying to force women to submit to controversial gender policies that affect parents and children, and especially women and girls. Every time they attack women, it backfires on them. Because people see what’s happening: a bully using force to stop women speaking out.”

Jacqueline Gullion of the Vancouver Lesbian Collective has been following the Million March for Children and the “No Place for Hate” counter-protests across Canada. Gullion says, “The attack in Nanaimo was clearly woman-hating male violence. She was physically assaulted by a man trying to shut her up and intimidate others into shutting up about the threats of gender ideology to women, children, and of course lesbians. The lesbians in our province-wide network are watching for the police and Crown to move forward with charges and a trial. We will continue to assert that women have the right to critique gender ideology.”

A recent ruling in Supreme Court of Ontario clarifies that human rights laws do not prevent anyone from speaking out in opposition to schools exposing young children to explicit materials about gender and sex.

“What happened here should not happen in a democratic society,” Ontario Superior Court Justice James Ramsay said about the case of Carolyn Burjoski, a teacher who is now retired.

“The Human Rights Code does not prohibit public discussion of issues related to transgenderism or minors and transgenderism. It does not prohibit public discussion of anything,” Justice Ramsay stated. (Source: National Post.)

In 2022, Janayh Wright, a Nanaimo mother, organized two protests after she caught a convicted pedophile peeping at her young daughter in the women’s change room at the pool. Aquatic centre staff dismissed Wright’s complaint at the time, saying the voyeur identified as female. Wright says that staff even threatened to call the police on her for “misgendering” the intruder.

A number of feminists have been assaulted in public at speaking events. A mob attacked a National Women's Convention hosted by Women's Declaration International last September and reportedly injured several people. (Source: Daily Mail.) 

Women’s rights campaigner Kelly Jay Keen’s “Let Women Speak” tour was disrupted by protesters throwing soup and projectiles at participants. She escaped without serious injury. (Source: Daily Mail.)

In October 2023, vandals painted graffiti all over a Saltair building that hosted a presentation with Meghan Murphy of Feminist Current. (Source: Youtube video description.)

To speak with T, contact Radfems of Canada.

T’s narrative about the event

Vancouver Lesbian Collective 

Radical Feminists of Canada