The Ghomeshi story is a very good reminder about the role mothers need to play in educating our sons early and often about sex and relationships. While both parents share responsibility for sex education, I think there are some areas in which moms have more street credibility.
What I find most shocking is that even though I am a survivor of rape and childhood sexual abuse, I was so easily swayed by the aura of power, prestige, and celebrity, as I quickly passed judgment before all of the facts have come out.
With every day that passes, the Nigerian schoolgirls could be moving further into dangerous territory of all kinds. Exploitation like the kinds they may be facing can have intensely disturbing effects on a child's social, emotional cognitive and spiritual well-being -- as well as their long-term development.
How is it that we live in a culture where speaking out is still taboo? A culture where so many blame victims for their own abuse. Where women are afraid to report or seek assistance because they worry that they will not be believed? But today and every day, I choose not to be heartbroken.
Dear proud men who have taken a woman's "No" to sexual activity, touching, or intercourse as a "Yes" instead of respecting
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.
Editor's note: This story was published in 2013. Sadly, Dolores O'Riordan passed away on Jan. 15, 2018. The Cranberries' Dolores
Recently I saw Betty* in my clinic. She is 44 years old and never had a "weight problem" till her eight-year-old only son met with a fatal road accident. That was 12 years ago. Since then she has steadily gained almost 10 pounds a year, which is why she is now 120 pounds heavier than she was at 32.
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.