I truly wanted to wait until I had heard all the facts established in a fair trial, in a court of law, until speaking my piece. However, I simply cannot stay silent because staying silent is no longer a choice.

 

It speaks volumes about a nation when women are afraid to come forward for fear of retribution.

It speaks volumes when people in positions of authority behave inappropriately. They know no one will come forward because they are “protected” by that silent wall of closed-eye/closed-mind complicity– the statement “s/he will never change.”

If never called to account, how could that person possibly change?  Repeating the same behaviour will always yield the same results.  Whether observer or aggressor.

It speaks volumes that such behaviour is tolerated because we don’t want to face the consequences of passive – aggressive – retaliation – bullying manifested in homes and workplaces all over this nation.

It speaks volumes when women have that heart-wrenching debate about whether or not to come forward because they know irrespective of what happened, they will be questioned as to demeanour and appearance. Moreover, to be hunted and “trolled” online for reporting abusive behaviour is atrocious and cowardly at its very core; the trolls and commentators hide behind yet another silent wall– one that George Strombolopolous aptly called “a silent wall of aggression.”

I am sickened by trolls and social media pariahs who think they have the right to attack just because they are fans.  A celebrity does not necessarily a moral person make.  To call someone a hero because he/she has won a few awards and is invited to all the best parties and restaurants is insulting to the real heroes/heroines who everyday risk their lives.

It sickens me that society has reached such a point of dissolution of absolute intellect, that we prosecute in the court of public opinion, the victims and accusers and make celebrities out of the accused. (Case in point: OJ Simpson)

It sickens me that trolls are getting away with social bullying and harassment because Canadian law can’t seem to keep up with social media.

I am sickened by the number of women, married to members of law enforcement, surviving through the worst abuse imaginable, who feel the only freedom they will have is when their partners actually kill them.  And many do.

It speaks volumes that sexually confident women are shamed when they are the victims of violence.  Yet when men are sexually confident, their behaviours, ethical or not, are lauded.

It speaks volumes when men will shoot an unarmed young girl in the head because she speaks of every child having the right to education in even the worst of circumstances.

It speaks volumes when women and girls are kidnapped and sold into slavery and forced into inconvenient marriages. Let’s call this what it is: unjustified endorsed rape.

I’m sickened that people living rough on the streets are the targets for violent commentary and behaviours.  Instead of hurling insults when people are genuinely seeking food, remember this: people don’t go hungry because they are homeless – they go hungry because we let them.

I am sickened that it took hundreds of people being killed by stalkers for law enforcement to actually see stalking as the psychological and physical torment that it is.

It sickens me that a woman was blinded because her husband did not want her to be educated. It sickens me that he was not held to account for his actions until the international outcry was so loud that his government “simply had to do something.”

It sickens me that women are gang raped just because they are in the wrong place at the right time. I hate that rape is a weapon of war. It sickens me that young women in India are raped because they do not have access to indoor toilets.

It sickens me that people who think educating women is sinful are heavily armed and in positions of shocking and threatening power.

I am sickened by women who tell their sons and grandsons it’s okay to treat other women like nonentities.  I am sickened by sex-selective abortions, female infanticide, female genital mutilation and the killings and disappearance of millions of women all over the world. I am sickened by “son preference.”  I am sickened that we’ve been having this conversation for decades and decades and decades and the progress we have to show for it is maintaining the status quo??

It sickens me that teenagers are taking their own lives because of hostile and heinous bullying via social media. it sickens me that the “silent wall of aggression” has become so powerful that we easily let people hide behind it.  I miss the days of accountability.

Conversely, it sickens me that what goes on consensually in the privacy of bedrooms becomes fodder for international news outlets. It is none of our business what people do in their bedrooms unless people are being physically hurt, threatened or abused.

I am sickened that we have to have a debate about who should be allowed to visit loved ones in a hospital because s/he doesn’t fit the “traditional heterosexual” marriage/family paradigm.

It sickens me that battered wife syndrome, even though proven in courts of law, is still only defended at face value.

It sickens me that we live in a culture of fear which precludes change and enables collusion.

It sickens me that media organisations stop at nothing to find “as much dirt,” as possible about both accused and accuser. What the HELL happened to journalistic integrity? What makes national news these days is disparagingly distressing. Quite frankly I don’t care about Justin Bieber’s new hairstyle or where Miley Cyrus has put her tongue.

What I care about are people dying because they have the audacity to disagree with their governments. What I care about is victims having to think twice about naming their accusers because we make them relive their abuse over and over and over again. And we do it all at lightning speed thanks to Twitter.

It sickens me that it has taken a scandal involving a public figure such as Jian Ghomeshi to break open the conversation surrounding sexual violence and harassment both in public and private.

It should not have taken this long for the conversation to become this significant. Violence against anyone is violence against all of us.  Complicity surrounding inappropriate behaviour is enabling behaviour. The conversation needs to shift towards non-complicity.  Indeed, towards respect and consideration overall.

We are in the midst of an incredibly rapid de-evolution of respect and decency.  This has to change, especially when the message has consistently been “you will not be believed because you are woman.”

Women have so much power in North America that if all of us stopped working for even four days, stopped driving and paying outrageous amounts for petrol, stopped grocery shopping, it would cripple the economy.  Think about that the next time your employer says to you “be more malleable.”
My name is Woman. Hear me Roar.

 

It ain’t just the economy stupid…

Social and print media have been bombarded with images of war and state sponsored terrorism lately.  No more so than images being leaked from Syria and not surprisingly, from Israel and Palestine.  France struggles with electing a new President in the midst of continued economic down turn and America is on the road to deciding once again if change is necessary.  In Canada, we recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Yet, I ask you, how many of you Canadians even knew that our Charter is only 30 years old?  Better yet, how many of you even knew we had one?  Our “culture” is so consumed by Americanisation that it surprises me that many do not know that there is an entire “Charter” that protects fundamental freedoms, like our right to freedom of expression.  While we have miles and miles to go before the Charter is reflective of every walk of life, we have come a very long way since 1982.

Rights activists will no doubt be screaming out that the Charter is lacking in a great many areas, however, compared to living in Syria or Palestine, I think we have things pretty good.  While we could undoubtedly give more recognition to our Aboriginal Peoples and to those who identify through sexual orientation, we are incredulously, among the luckiest people in the world.  Our government has not sponsored its forces to commit terrorism against us. Nor has our government walled us off from friends and family telling us that due to religious beliefs, we have no right to life or no access to water.  Although I am sure that many in Attawapiskat would tell you otherwise, the people of Palestine are facing a struggle so dire that, left unchecked, will result in the most covert, deceitful form of apartheid there is:  civil apartheid.  Human Rights activist and coordinator of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, Frank Barat writes on Al-Jazeera that “we’ve gone way beyond Apartheid.”  That annexation of certain areas of Palestine to Israel is happening on such a civil level that the offer of citizenship to Palestinians in areas being annexed is nothing more than apartheid because it forces the walled in separation of Arabs from Jews.

Check out his article:

We’ve gone way beyond Apartheid

What is more concerning to me is what happens when most Palestinians are walled off from water sources.  Many no longer have access to water wells and sources that once belonged to them through ancestral inheritance of land. Is this the new level on which wars will be fought?  And has this been done deliberately so that each party can turn to the world and say “see? we told you they would….!”

We have become so complacent in our lack of understanding others that there is no longer outcry when Syrian forces kill young students without hesitation.  When people are starved of their rights to provide for themselves and educate themselves, what is left are a people so marred by violence and hatred that even the mundane activity of buying bread can become an event in rage.  Why is it necessary to murder in the name of a man who is so far removed from his own truth that he is creating a nightmare for all those who have the misfortune to be living under his rule?

For a world economy that is so fragile, so based in deceit to repair itself, will take leaders of all nations to come together to recognise the validity and the value of human life.  Even if it takes fifty or one hundred years, the end result will be well worth the effort.  Without the energy and the spirit of human kind, no amount of money will replace the lives, the dignity of all those who have fallen victim to apartheid, genocide, economic disaster, civil strife and war.  Today our lives aren’t just about the economy — they are about the meaning we derive from every moment.  Perhaps one day, Palestine and Syria will have charters akin to Canada’s. Perhaps one day, resources that are part of our environmental commons will be shared between all peoples, regardless of historical ancestry.

Here’s hoping….