A Stellarton, Nova Scotia, community worker was fired from her government-funded job after exposing the “radical lesbian feminist” policies of the Pictou County Women’s Centre.
Judy Davidson, 39, designed a project to inform the public about all aspects of sexual abuse against women and children. Under the sponsorship of the Pictou County Women’s Centre, the project received government approval and a grant of $53,000 from the Secretary of State.
Mrs. Davidson’s troubles began shortly after her project got underway. She openly objected to the radical positions being promoted at a regional conference for rape crisis workers. More trouble ensued when the Women’s Centre Collective decided to restrict her access to the Women’s Centre, from where her project was run, since she did not subscribe to the Collective’s previously-hidden “radical lesbian feminist” policies. (She recounts her story in detail elsewhere in this issue).
Right to know
In a mid-January telephone interview with The Interim, Mrs. Davidson said that the Women’s Centre seems to be carrying on with the project, although apparently no one has been hired to replace her – or the two co-workers who also resigned. She noted that the unused portion of the government grant had not been returned to Ottawa.
Mrs. Davidson, a divorced mother of three children, with a long history of community service, is currently unemployed. Following her dismissal she says that there have been numerous attempts to discredit her in the community. She feels, however, that the public has a right to know the guiding principles of organizations when public funds are involved. And she is supported in this view by many individuals and area churches who have become involved in the controversy on her behalf.
The Council of Churches Nova Scotia has written both to the Secretary of State and to local MP Elmer MacKay (PC Central Nova), expressing its concern on the matter. Mr. MacKay has informed one local minister that he “is looking into the matter.” Judy Davidson has herself written to Mr. MacKay but has not received a reply to her letter. The Council of Churches has also approached the Women’s Centre for clarification of the situation – thus far unsuccessfully.
Grounds to sue
In addition to informing her community, Mrs. Davidson has also consulted a lawyer. He advised her that she had grounds to sue the Centre; yet, although some are urging her to do so, she is reluctant. She says she would be happy to see her name cleared of allegations made against her: her reason for going public was to raise public awareness. She also sees the whole affair as an issue of freedom of choice.
“In its quest to support radical feminism,” she says “the Pictou County Women’s Centre must, necessarily, be supportive of a very broad type of freedom of choice. This freedom of choice has not been granted to me, as I have become a victim of their censorship. Furthermore, this freedom of choice has never been given to the community at large to see whether it wishes a publicly-funded centre to be radical, feminist or lesbian in its orientation.”
Many women who have supported the Centre in the past have been unaware of its radical roots, she says – including herself. She points out that women seeking counseling after rape or other abuse are extremely vulnerable. Centres for abused women that are staffed by persons who promote a “radical lesbian feminist” ideology should concern us all.