It is rape to take pictures of people at Tent City

“Do you know that it is rape to take pictures of people at tent city?”Said an individual who mentioned to me that he lived in tent city. I stood there dumbfounded. “I will not take pictures of anyone at tent city,” I said.

In Victoria there are a number of laws regarding people with serious mental illness and addictions. One of the laws is Not found criminally responsible due to mental illness/insanity. Social workers, doctors, psychiatrists, mental health workers, outreach workers, ACT team workers and support workers in various fields know about these laws. It is laws like this which prevent the general population from really engaging with the people in tent city, because somehow the general population seems to know that one needs to be both a medically trained person and linked to an established organization which covers insurance of the professional trying to engage with the people of tent city. The law enforcement follow like laws and they have insurance to cover if accidents should happen. The general population does not have insurance to cover this engagement. So if a person not linked with an organization, such as an independent freelance outreach worker (trained or not trained) would try engage with an individual who was psychotic and gets hurt then the independent freelance outreach worker could not get justice for his/her injury nor compensation to cover the accident costs. So people are very limited to what they can offer the people in tent city. Organizations like TAPS, OPS, BCSS, PACS, and Cool Aid society are community run organizations. Island Health and walk-in clinics can provide medical care. I do not know how tent city is run, because when I went there about one month ago, it was mentioned to me that they were self-governed. However, I am quite sure tent city has a lawyer representing them in court so they have someone representing them in the court of law. This means that the tent city people are quite organized. Tent city is often in the media in Victoria – like the Times Colonist newspaper so some people are representing tent city. They have leaders.

I am no hero but in 2013 I went to college to become a mental health and addictions worker. Then, while working full-time at a crappy job I continued to volunteer to help the homeless. I often tried to gain employment in the field in Victoria to no avail. It has proven to me that there are hundreds if not thousands of qualified mental health and addictions workers in Victoria who are seeking to gain employment using the Western medical model. This means that many many people in Victoria really do want to make a difference in the lives of the marginalized. In order to help the marginalized there are lots of laws, regulations and restrictions to follow. Red tape. These laws, regulations and restrictions have been put in place by the most powerful in Victoria society – they have been known to crush protesters, activists and change-makers. The only way for tent city in Victoria to survive is by fitting into the status quo, that is how Nelson Mandela was able to make change in South Africa and in contrast to M. Ghandi who got shot in India.

Photograph of the running water at tent city in Victoria city, British Columbia. This is supposed to be for 120 of the people living there to share. May 26, 2016


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