Letter: Take Back Our Greenbelt, Take Back Our Power

By Emily Spiler and Michelle Cole

Recent newspaper articles, social media posts, and presentations at the high school may have you talking about sexual assault and women’s safety. Talking is good, taking action is better.

Winter tempts us to go inwards, which may lead to social media that isolates us in fear and doesn’t give us the whole picture or the tools to heal. Short snippets of #metoo posts may leave us feeling disturbed or triggered. We need a bigger context to understand this movement expanding collective consciousness. We need to move towards getting beyond fear and not letting it limit our freedom or damage our community psyche.

In Revelstoke, information sharing takes many forms. Placing focus solely on why the offender has not been charged, or the lack of details in police reports, distracts us from tougher conversations that are closer to home. It is more likely to experience sexual assault from someone that you know, and it is not necessarily a way forward to always paint the picture a “stranger in the bush”.

According to Statistics Canada’s Police-Reported Sexual Assaults in Canada, between 2009 and 2014, “87 per cent of victims knew their assailant, most commonly as a casual acquaintance, a family member, or an intimate partner… . 13 per cent of sexual assaults were perpetrated by someone who was a stranger to the victim.”

Incidences like these are not new in history, and the issue of gender-based violence goes so much deeper. People lose sight of the bigger dynamics of abuse and trauma, and we have a long way to go to recognize and reconcile this social issue. Harassment, misogynistic attitudes, and ‘rape culture’ are woven into everyday conversations and interactions.

It is good that there is discussion taking place and powerful energy in Revelstoke waiting to be directed into forward motion, to find our inner strength. The path to intergenerational healing, for ourselves, for our sisters, for our mothers and for our grandmothers, can be found through many sources. For example: indigenous wisdom and the feminine principle teaches us to honour all people and have gratitude for every challenge and experience.

“Discovering the truth that negativity robs us of our joy and learning how to change those patterns can shift the experience.” – Jamie Sams, The 13 Original Clan Mothers.

Be creative Revelstoke. How can we use our talents to create change? How can we affect policy? Change attitudes? Speak up for someone when we hear inappropriate comments? Gather around kitchen tables and support each other?

White Ribbon Day, on December 6th, highlighted women’s stories and art, empowering every person in Dose coffee shop to hold space for healing. How will we choose to keep this momentum alive? Let’s reconnect and show the resilience by the Revelstoke community taking action on violence against women.

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