Take Back The Night!

She bent down… just like this. It was obvious she was doing it for me. Then she said “I’m not that kind of girl”.

I’d dressed up a bit for this event. Put on make up, wore a sparkly shirt, I even added a rainbow bead necklace a friend just gave me. Listening to the two men talking nearby made me wish I could scrub off my face and put on something a little more ugly… a lot more invisible.

When she breaks up with her boyfriend, I’m totally going for her.

There was no indication that he saw her as a person in her own right. She moved solely for him and, when her boyfriend was done it was going to be his turn to have her.

But let me ask u this then let’s say I ask u to a dance and it’s a dream I really wanted and u tell me no and I go on a killing spree what would you say was the trigger point to my anger.

~ actual question asked to a friend ~

The Take Back the Night event started in an auditorium full of people… young and old… male and female. There were booths around the room where I got candy, a pen, and an apple. A Metis drumming group played at the front. I admired one lady’s sequined hat and then it was time to sit.

#webelieveyou

Story after story, in video and in person, of women who’d been raped, assaulted, molested, and beaten. Story after story where they were disbelieved because he wouldn’t do that. Story after story where women went to the police to be empowered and take back their right to bodily autonomy, only to have the police fail them too.

take-back-the-night

I was photobombed 🙂

My ex had a favourite position, one which made it so I couldn’t speak and couldn’t push him away. I couldn’t change my mind midway because “no” wasn’t an option. I told him this in tears and suggested a hand touch which would mean “no”. He ignored it… twice. That was when I realized the ignoring was deliberate, he liked that I was struggling… that I couldn’t stop him. I refused to get into that position after that and he sulked like a small child being told “no” to seconds of dessert. I’m a person, not a serving of cake.

Whatever we wear
Where ever we go
Yes means yes
And no means no!

We spilled out of the auditorium, a large jubilant, defiant crowd… hemmed in by a strip of yellow caution tape and guarded by police. Pouring onto the road, chanting almost incomprehensible words. Did we want safety or ice cream? The echoes sounded like both.

Two, four, six, eight
No more violence
No more rape!

I walked home after the event with a neighbour. Cheers and laughter erupted ahead of us, followed by a faint “no-oo”. My heart felt like it was slamming against my ribs and I rocked as I walked. What could we do against a crowd? Both our phones were dead and he’s shorter and more slight than me. The soccer field ahead was lit; it soon became apparent a goal had been scored. My relief was instantaneous.

There were children scattered through the walk, blowing whistles and waving hand made signs. For now it’s just fun. How long will it take for the message to sink in? Will they be the change for the future? Are there enough of them?

Michelle? You go out for walks on your own? Do you really think it’s safe?

I used to. Maybe someday I will again.

Why am I a feminist?

I am a feminist because feminism isn’t about making women better than men, it’s about making all genders equal.

I am a feminist because I have a son and a daughter, whom I love and want the all the best.

I am a feminist because my son does not need to “man up”.

I am a feminist because my daughter is not a slut for needing birth control.

I am a feminist because if women were truly equal then my son would not be seen as lesser for being feminine.

I am a feminist because neither of my children should get yelled at from car windows.

I am a feminist because grown men should not be harassing my teenage daughter for her phone number.

I am a feminist because my son shouldn’t be scared to go outside in the clothes he likes.

I am a feminist because my daughter is not an ornament and doesn’t need to smile.

I am a feminist because my son is not weak for showing emotions.

I am a feminist because grown women are concerned the phrase “no means no” is too complicated to define rape.

I am a feminist because people still think men cannot control themselves when aroused.

I am a feminist because my son is stronger than society thinks and my daughter is not responsible for all the men around her.

I am a feminist because “you throw like a girl” is still an insult.

I am a feminist because “that’s so gay” is still synonymous with “that’s stupid” in almost every school on this continent.

I am a feminist because Canada has only ever had one female prime minister and only by default.

I am a feminist because women hold only 5% of the CEO positions in the Fortune 1000 companies.

I am a feminist for the little girl in our pool who told me she wants to be pretty when she grows up.

Random Wednesday thoughts…

I found myself embroiled in a Facebook thread last night. It started with the following image…

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This was posted in a parenting group and every single person who’d responded was female.

The first reply was “Really?! Thats just mean”. This was followed by “if it is just as it is written – no I doubt it would be rape. – but , yes, there is some info missing….” along with “I can understand asking him to stop and being upset that he didn’t but unless there was something else strange going on (bondage maybe) or he was being really rough, I can’t see it as rape.” and “The real question is, when does it stop being consensual? In this base scenario, I do not think it is rape”

I posted “It stops being consensual at the words no or stop. It’s rape after that.” and got these two replies:

“Well, the question is, are you entitled to finish, and what measures are you allowed to employ to ensure you do?”

and

“To me, that broad of a definition is worrisome.”

To recap. Grown adult women think it’s probably not rape if a man continues having sex with a woman (when she says stop) if he hasn’t finished yet and that sex after the words “stop” and “no” is too broad a definition for rape. That crashing sound was my faith in humanity breaking and I didn’t have much left to begin with.

At my last count, the thread was up to 80 comments (several of which were mine). More people than me chimed in on the “yes, this is rape” side and then another person jumped in to claim rape culture doesn’t exist in Canada and that the woman in the image deserved it because men can’t control themselves in a state of arousal. Besides she’d been enjoying it right up to the word “stop”. You know, pretty much proving the existence of rape culture right there.

I’d originally planned on writing a longer post last night; tying the conversation with Jeremy to the Facebook discussion but then I got to my question for Jeremy and ran out of steam. I could not write another word about rape, not if I wanted to sleep that night. Also, I hate 3am. Just saying. I’m not very awake today.

I was chatting on Facebook with a couple of friends of mine (about that thread) when Jeremy wandered into my room and flopped onto my bed.

“Do you know what doctors should invent?” he asked cheerfully.

Well, I can think of all sorts of things. That’s one heck of an open ended question. I just shrugged slightly, hoping he’d accept that as an answer. I don’t like playing guessing games.

“They should build a gender changing machine,” he continued. “You’d walk in and, poof, you’d be the other gender when you walked out the other side.”

He gestured wildly, sending puffs of orchid scented body lotion in my direction. He tends to put it on a tad thick so he can smell prettier. I could smell him from halfway across the room.

“And you could use it as many times as you wanted,” he added. “Would you use it?”

Putting aside the fact I wouldn’t want to be a man, we’ve been through this multiple times with his teleportation device questions. I would not be comfortable going through any machine that entirely rearranged my molecules.

“Michelle. Are you sure you didn’t come in here with an arm protruding from your back?”

While I’ve talked to Jeremy about the difference between sex and gender, it apparently hadn’t stuck. Considering he claims we live in a 20 floorie high rise (because he confuses stories and floors), this wasn’t a big surprise.

“Jeremy? Do you know what the difference is between sex and gender?” I asked, wondering what he’d remembered.

“Yes… mostly… well, kind of,” he said, squirming a little. “I know what it means but it’s complicated to explain.”

“That means no,” I said dryly. “Gender is up here,” I tapped the side of his head, “and sex is between your legs. I think you meant a sex change machine.”

“Yeah,” he agreed. “That’s what I meant.”

He promptly moved on to talking about Doctor Who. I’d like to say I listened intently but the truth is he lost me within the first 30 seconds. I caught something about someone time-traveling into the Tardis but, beyond that, I was completely confused. He often forgets I’ve only seen four episodes.

“Oh! I can hear my airplane. It’s still flying! I didn’t think it would fly so long without me. I have to go check and see how it’s doing.”

With that, he bounded out of the room, snagging a cat on the way. And I went back to my writing.