Monday, 8 February 2016

In The Swamp

Our protest at Old City Hall Feb 4, 2016
I cried at the breakfast table this morning, in front of my kids. I don’t do this often, if ever, but today I did. My three year-old daughter looked at me with such concern and sweetness, and quickly put her arms around my neck. I buried my face deep into her little body, her purest of innocence.
All the while, thinking – I want this to be a better world for you.
I have entrenched myself in the current trial of Jian Ghomeshi. I am sorry I just had to write his name, because his name feels like a mosquito in a swamp. It’s this swamp we’re all in, stuck in the glue of its shit, trying desperately to get out.

Last November, when the story broke, it sent a huge shockwave through me, and seemed to affect everyone I know – specifically all the women I know – in a deep, sickening way. We were all deeply disturbed, and we were sad. It was hard for me to put my finger on why exactly, why was I that affected, seeing as I wasn’t really a fan or a listener or a follower of him in any way.  But there I was, disturbed and anxious, reading everything I could, talking to everyone I could, trying to alleviate some of my emotion, and trying to understand.

His trial started last Monday, and again – here I am – a mess. My sleep is disturbed, and there is a general undercurrent of anger and sadness inside of me.
I think we reach a place where we can’t take anymore, and sometimes we don’t even know what that anymore is, until it bubbles up and screams in our faces.
This is screaming in my face, this is pounding away at my heart, this is chipping away at my gut.
I can’t take the violence.
I can’t take the silencing of women.
I can’t take the culture of rape.
I can’t take the way the world is.
 I just can’t take it anymore.

I can’t accept that all of this happens, and this is what we are supposed to accept, and this is what is normal.

Is this normal?

But again, I ask myself why – why am I so upset? Because this story is about what we allow, and all the allowances I have made. All the ways I have lost my power, and have used my body to get some power and acknowledgement. All the times I have smiled uncomfortably when I should have been yelling NO.
It’s all there, in my body. It’s a swamp.
It’s a dark green sludge of a slimy swamp, and it has coated my cells. But now – now it is coming up. And in my view, it is what is coming up in everyone. It is coming up because of this story, because of this man, because of these women that are speaking up, and sharing their imperfect truths, and because of our backwards system, that is exemplifying its lack of protection for women. Because everywhere you go, people are talking about this, and the news is plastering it on its paper and soundwaves and screens.

It wants to change.

I am a 38 year-old woman. In my lifetime, I have:
- had my legs rubbed in a weird way by a 60+ year old man when I was nine.
- been mugged in an alleyway while walking alone, my jaw fractured, when I was 15.
- been stalked by a stranger when travelling alone in Mexico, when I was 25.
- said yes countless times when I actually wanted to say no.
- been groped, had my butt slapped, been subject to countless comments about my appearance, been catcalled and whistled at, been propositioned on the street countless times.
- given away my power more times than I could ever possibly count.

Maybe you’ll look at that and think – well, that’s not too bad, that’s kind of normal.
Is it? Is that normal?
Because I can tell you, that if any one of those things – any one – were to happen to my daughter, I would be cracking skulls. Cracking them.
So where is the barometer here? Is it that we are to expect at least some of this behaviour in our lifetime, and if we don’t get too much of it, then we consider ourselves lucky?
Why have so many women that I know been raped? Is this normal?

I need to tell you that it’s not.

I need to tell you that I can’t take it anymore.

I need to tell you that it wants to change.

And I need to tell you that all of us are in this swamp, and we need to get out.

My mom at the protest.
Me at the protest.
I don’t know how to get out exactly, but I can tell you this: I will no longer be staying silent during any uncomfortable moments. I will no longer try to “get what I want” by using my looks, my body, my sex. I am going to call it out, from now on. I will stand as a defender and protector to anyone who is mistreated.

I urge you to do the same.

1 comment:

SOSA Voysey said...

So how do you feel now the FULL Ghomeshi data is disclosed? (multiple women dialoguing for months to "get him", disclosed by our justice system as liars, outed by a female lawyer who says it's not about gender its about justice")
I presume the personal statements remain unaltered and valid.