Do not treat the victim as if they are a person with agency and thoughts and feelings. Tell yourself that it's rational and logical to want to know all sides of the story, though you never want to know the other side, the perpetrator's side, when your house is broken into or your wallet is stolen or your child is hit by a car. Tell yourself that we can never know for sure what happened and since a man's life can be destroyed by accusations of rape, it's best to err on the side of caution. Do not think about the girl whose life was destroyed when she was seven. Above all, never, ever, ever think about the ways that you might be complicit in this.
I grew up being catcalled. I was groomed to believe it was a compliment I should enjoy. Though it vibrated uncomfortable, I looked for it on days I felt especially unpretty. Women are told, not just by men, but by other women to lighten up. "Oh please! Someone whistles at you, roll with it; it's a compliment. Someone thinks you're hot!" Powerlessness is key here. Especially when our culture generally continues to see street harassment as a non-issue.
This week, the American made-for-TV movie about the Russell Williams murders will make it Canadian television debut. An Officer and a Murderer is a movie only someone steeped in profit-motivated amnesia could make. It's sensationalistic. A pervasive kind of entertainment. It glorifies violence against Canadian women. It stains the good honour of Canadian women and men in uniform.
This week, I had a drink with a very good friend. He's currently in a relationship with a wonderful woman whose ex-husband, the father of her children also happens to be the man who raped and brutally sodomized her for the last four years of their nine-year marriage. No one believed the story of her ordeal. No one in her family. Not one of her friends. Disbelief is a cruel after-effect of rape. It's also the trump card of the rapist. The burden is all too often placed on the victim, not the perpetrator. And when it's a spouse, he knows how to make the victim feel so worthless, guilty and low, that she'll avoid doing what is necessary.
Bodily autonomy doesn't just refer to the freedom to have an abortion, it also refers to the freedom from unwanted acts against the body -- including forced pregnancy. For once I think there could be an issue where pro-life and pro-choice supporters can ally, but for some strange reason it seems no one is talking about it.
I knew several things. That I would finally meet my sister. And finally, confirmation of what I had known for two decades: my sister was also sexually abused by our father. Knowing something to be true and finally staring truth in the face is overwhelming. I would never feel the same as I did before that Wednesday morning.
Every six days a Canadian woman is killed by her partner. As of 2010, there were 582 known cases of missing or murdered Aboriginal women in Canada. Globally, one in three women will be a victim of violence -- being raped, beaten or abused in her lifetime. In some parts of the world a girl is more likely to be raped than to learn how to read. But women have taken a backseat to the government's other priorities.We could certainly be doing more to help women who are suffering from HIV/AIDS, which in many cases in the developing world results from rape.
One of my childhoods was happy. The B&W movies projected on our small TV screen, more often than not, contradicted the drama I was living in my own home movie reels. But there were exceptions. In fact, the images of our television's B&W movies were very real to me. Sidney Poitier was one of those images, and thankfully, he made repeat appearances.
Evil can come in many forms, even the gentle grey softness of a grandmother like Dottie Sandusky.That monsters like Jerry Sandusky exist is a sad reality. Sadder still is the women who protect these men. Is it possible that this woman had absolutely no idea of the atrocities being committed in her own home? Dorothy Sandusky owes the world an apology.
Last Sunday came yet another T.V. documentary detailing alleged abuse of young boys by Roman Catholic priests. As a journalist I investigated all sorts of stories about abuse of power. But, to my shame, it never occurred to me to investigate those rumours I'd heard so many years before about sexual abuse and the Catholic church in Newfoundland and Labrador.