Teal Swan was only six years old when she found herself in the hands of her abuser and forced into a nightmarish world that a lot of people were unwilling (or unable) to believe. For the better part of 13 years, she was was raped, beaten and psychologically tortured by people who she was told to trust.
If Hollywood actors and producers turned their backs on the likes of Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, Bill Cosby and Terry Richardson it would send a strong message of support to victims. And for many victims who know that the prospect of a criminal conviction is faint at best, seeing their alleged abuser publicly shamed or ostracized is the only morsel of justice they will ever be served.
There are many cases of sexual assault and harassment that never get reported, because our society normalizes them. Most women have had these experiences in a bar, in the street, in the gym, in a place of work, by a friend, by a co-worker, by a partner. Unwanted sexual touching and groping is ALWAYS sexual assault. We need to see this, name it and end it.
Many legal definitions of sexual assault, including Canada's, try to balance two things: the rights of the accused to remain innocent until proven guilty, and the rights of the complainants to seek justice in a fair and balanced court of law. However, our laws are strongly biased in favour of the accused because of one little clause.
What if narcissism isn't what we assume it is? Yes, narcissists project an über-confident, egotistical image but most researchers believe this is merely a smokescreen to disguise extremely low or even non-existent self-esteem. I thought why not demonstrate it because actions speak louder than words.
As I suspect is the case with many other people across the country, I am closely watching the Jian Ghomeshi trial. There were times yesterday when I found myself holding my breath, wishing that this very public trial might be a pivotal moment in our society -- one in which we can finally begin to openly and honestly address the prevalence of sexual violence in our communities.
There are stories I come across in the news that leave me feeling angry, frustrated and, at times, bewildered. But hearing the news that parole had been granted to Graham James, the disgraced former hockey coach convicted of sexually abusing young boys in his care, left a hollow ache of deep sadness in me.
It finally happened. After months of accusations from over 50 women with horrific tales of sexual assault, Bill Cosby's luck has run out. On December 30th, 2015, Cosby stood before a judge, faced charges of indecent assault, and paid more money in bail than most people see in their lifetimes. If convicted, Cosby could face a mere $25,000 fine and ten years in prison. These are charges from only ONE of the women, Andrea Constand, who says she became friends with Cosby when she worked at Temple University.
"Violence against women is a violation of the most basic human rights," Prime Minster Justin Trudeau reflected. I would like to highlight two Canadian women who have faced tremendous tragedy in their lives, yet have pulled them together and are inspiring us all to embrace better ideals in our citizenship.