Saturday, November 08, 2014
Violence Against Women: Why We All Need to Look in the Mirror
I'm ashamed to admit that when the stories about the ghastly harassment of women in this country began to emerge, first at the CBC and then on Parliament Hill, I was shocked and horrified.
But because I'm a gay guy, and I've never harassed anyone let alone a woman, and sex for me means love not violence, the idiot thought entered my mind that it wasn't my problem.
So don't don't blame me eh?
But as the trickle of horror stories became a flood.
And gave birth to this magnificent movement.
I rapidly realized how wrong I was. It is my problem. It's everybody's problem. And as Carol Goar says, we all need to look in the mirror.
We’ve had an onslaught of graphic evidence in the past couple of weeks that women are vulnerable in their workplaces, their homes, their doctors’ offices, even in Parliament.
None of this surprises women’s activists, human rights advocates or union organizers. They’ve seen it all before — many times before. What frustrates them is that society never connects the dots between these episodes; policy-makers never step back and look at the whole picture.
Because the sad truth is that like so many others, I also didn't connect the dots. I didn't see the forest for the trees, I had no idea that things were THAT bad, in a country like Canada, in the fourteenth year of the 21st Century.
I didn't realize that the long struggle for the human rights of women which I thought we were winning, was going backwards instead of forwards. As that recent report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives makes only too painfully obvious.
It tells a demoralizing tale of backsliding (or stasis) on everything from the sexual harassment of pre-teen girls to the disproportionately high homicide rate of aboriginal women. The problem is not a lack or knowledge or tools, McInturff says. It is that policy-makers simply don’t keep the commitments they have made to half the population.
“Twenty years ago, Canada ranked first among nations in measures of gender equality,” she notes. “In 2014, Canada had fallen to 19th place in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Index.”
I didn't realize how low we have fallen.
And although I blame myself, and all of us, because it is a societal problem. One that needs to be dealt with in our homes, in our schools, in our workplaces or wherever it rears its ugly head.
I especially blame the foul Con regime for making the problem worse...
The current status of women minister, Kellie Leitch, publicly acknowledged last November that “violence and the threat of violence are daily realities for many women and girls.” She chose to ignore her government’s role in their plight. It cut the budget of Status of Women Canada by 37 per cent, forcing it to close 12 of its 16 regional offices.
It withdrew funding from a network of centres of excellence for women’s health. It terminated the Court Challenges Program, which allowed women to take legal action, using the equality guarantee in the Charter of Rights. And it silenced women’s advocates, depriving their organizations of financial support at and access to senior decision-makers.
As one might expect from a regime, whose depraved leader's first act when he came to power was to order that the words "women's equality" be erased from thousands of government documents.
And since I knew that, I should have known where he would lead us. I should have known better, for that and so many other reasons.
Starting with the fact that I was raised in a family of proud feminists, who taught me to respect women from an early age, as well as how to iron my own shirt. So it's not like I don't know how hard is the battle for equality.
Or the fact that because I was forced to fight bullies from the age of about twelve, I know only too well what it's like to be oppressed, or treated as less than fully human.
Or the fact that I too was once sexually harassed when I was a teenager by a very rich older man who wouldn't take no for an answer. So I know it's not about sex, it's all about POWER.
And all I can say is all power to the women of this country, who are turning something ugly into something beautiful. Starting a long overdue national conversation. And re-energizing the struggle for full human equality.
And needless to say, as idiot as I can sometimes be, I'm with them all the way eh?
Let's defeat the foul Con regime, and its creepy misogynistic leader.
Let's make Canada a safe place for women and girls, wherever they live or work.
Enough is ENOUGH.
No more silence.
No more violence...
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