What gets you fired up?
If you said Harry Potter was in Hufflepuff, I would passionately correct you.
If you said you don’t vote, I would try to convince you otherwise.
But my one vendetta in this world is not against a person or family, but rather an act: sexual assault.
I am heartbroken but also inspired by survivors, no matter how they choose to tell their story, whether it be anonymous and protected by a publication ban or with their names attached for everyone to know.
It saddens me to hear story after story from people who are assaulted but brush off the incident because they were drunk and probably seemed like they wanted it, or because their friends’ grandparent slapping their butt was harmless or because they didn’t see the person on the dance floor who touched them.
I am angry with the people that commit these crimes.
And I am angry with a society that raised them to think of other people as expendable, to think they can have whatever they want, to think everyone would want that kind of attention from them, to think a smile means yes.
I am angry with the friends and bystanders who don’t step in to prevent these crimes and inspired by organizations such as Good Night Out that do.
I am angry with the justice system for potentially revictimizing and retraumatizing survivors but inspired by victim’s services workers who work hard to make the process easier for survivors.
I am angry at the friends, family and community for (perhaps unknowingly) reinforcing the shame, guilt, self blame and other feelings that may prevent a person from reporting a sexual assault to the RCMP.
I believe talking about sexual assaults, truthfully and openly, will help us move away from victim blaming and shaming to a place where people will come forward and report these crimes, and hopefully prevent offenders from hurting other people.
In the end, I encourage everyone to take a minute before jumping to conclusions when you hear about sexual assaults.
Ask yourself, why do I think this? What harm could this thought be doing to me or other survivors?
We have all been wired a certain way, but we can choose to change how we think and act.