News / Toronto

Roosh V meetups cancelled, but Toronto boxers' learn-to-punch rally will proceed

Boxing club owner caused stir when she told Metro about her plans to crash Valizadeh’s Toronto meet-up of “d*****bags” with her squad of female boxers.

Toronto Newsgirls boxing club took on Roosh V.

LIZ BEDDALL/METRO

Toronto Newsgirls boxing club took on Roosh V.

A Toronto women’s boxing club is hosting a rally outside City Hall on Saturday to teach people how to throw a punch — all inspired by “pro-rape” blogger Roosh V.

Roosh, whose real name is Daryush Valizadeh, caused an international stir this week when he organized 165 “meet-ups” in 43 countries for men who follow his philosophies.

Savoy Howe, owner of the Toronto Newsgirls, caused her own stir when she told Metro about her plans to crash Valizadeh’s Toronto meet-up of “d*****bags” with her squad of female boxers. Valizadeh has since cancelled his meetings, saying he could no longer ensure the men would be safe.

Howe’s story spread around the world, and some have credited her with stopping Valizadeh in his tracks.

“But I don’t think it was just us, women are standing up all over the place,” she said.

Women from around the world have been in contact, sharing their stories, Howe said.

That includes a woman from England who’s getting ready to testify against her rapist in court and was inspired by Howe to start boxing.

A middle-aged survivor of violence from Florida contacted her to say she’s proud to know how to fight back now—with a particular move that can break an aggressor’s nose.

“I was telling her that’s good, a lot of women don’t have a move like that in their back pocket,” said Howe. “That’s why Saturday night we want to kickstart that, show women that they can.”

With no official meet-up to crash, Howe has decided to move ahead with an event aimed at empowerment.

Fight Factory –  which will see Howe’s boxers don hand pads and teach others how to punch — runs from 8 to 9 p.m. Saturday in Nathan Phillips Square.

“It’ll be an opportunity for anyone who wants to come and learn how to throw a punch, safely, to come out,” she said.

Howe’s also invited martial arts studios to join the crowd.

Who is Roosh V?

Roosh V is an American blogger who denies he's "pro-rape," but whose teachings include telling men that if a women says “no” when a man is taking her panties off it actually means “Don’t give up now.’" His blog argues all rape allegations made publicly are false, and women shouldn’t work out of the home or vote.

A post arguing rape should be legal on private property caused the most controversy — but Valizadeh claims it was “a thought experiment” or “satire.”