#MeToo, #NoShit, #WhatNow?

Before I get started I just wanted to show you a few statistics:

  • Sexual assault is the only violent crime in Canada that is not declining. Since 1999, rates of sexual assault have remained relatively unchanged. [1]
  • Women with disabilities and those who are institutionalized, Aboriginal women, single women, and women who are unemployed or have low-incomes are at heightened risk of sexual assault. [2]
  • Women who have experienced sexual assault are more likely to attempt suicide [3]
  • Of every 100 incidents of sexual assault, only 6 are reported to the police. [4]
  • In nearly all incidents of sexual violence against women (99%), the accused perpetrator was male. [5]

Some of you probably know or have seen these before, but just incase a few readers haven’t. 

Ok so, now that this whole #MeToo whirlwind has seemed to have died down a bit (unfortunately? fortunately??? I don’t know how to feel), it’s time to move the conversation forward. But, I do have a few thoughts. 

At first this hashtag felt empowering, as survivor’s we’re speaking out and refusing to be silenced, and of course my first instinct was to post #MeToo in solidarity. I had this moment of hesitation though. I thought, we don’t fucking owe you our stories?!? We should not have to rip open our wounds and relive our traumatic experiences to get you to believe us. This wasn’t done for your validity. Frankly, I don’t give a shit if you believe me or not. What we need to see is change.

It makes me so angry, and honestly kind of nauseous, that some men are just realizing now that this is a problem.

Millions of people used this hashtag. Clearly, it’s always been a problem.

It’s not just white, cisgendered women that this is affecting. We must keep that in mind. Trans women, gender non conforming people, sex workers and WOC are dealing with this as well, and more frequently. 

With all of these survivors feeling empowered to come forward I have to admit this time something does feels different. I feel a shift. But you can’t blame me for being skeptical. I can’t help but feel that in a few months, like every other hashtag or scandalous new story, the conversation will be over. Hopefully I’m wrong.

So what now? How can we change this viscous cycle, and what can we do moving forward to help?

Here are some tips:

If you’re going on a Tinder date, don’t just assume that because she’s on a dating app she’s automatically dtf. If she is, great! Have fun! But don’t let that become the expectation. SHE DOESN’T OWE YOU SHIT. Fuck, I want to scream that from every rooftop.

Let’s cut out the “locker room” talk. Don’t follow in Trumps footsteps.

How about not calling people a “pussy” as an insult? Pussies are powerful AF so that’s pretty much a compliment anyways.

Have the confidence to speak up when people are talking about women in a discriminatory way. How would you feel if they were talking about your mom/sister/daughter/friend? Because they are talking about someone’s mom/sister/daughter/friend.

When a woman says no, she’s not being a tease, or playing hard to get. She probably just doesn’t want to have sex with you ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Also, saying that you’re not going to waste time on a woman if she won’t give you sex perpetuates the idea that women are a sexual accessory, that our sole purpose as physical vessels is to make sure you get off. 

If you see a visibly drunk girl in a sketchy situation, trust your gut. Ask her if she’s okay, ask if she knows the person she’s with and do not let her leave until you get some form of confirmation that she’s safe. If you don’t want to get involved but still feel weird about the situation, call the police. Better safe than sorry.

Let’s cut out the belittling and flirty nicknames for women. If someone calls me “sweetheart” or “kiddo” one more time I swear to god.

Stay in your god. damn. lane. The worst thing is when men try to challenge women in conversations about gender discrimination or oppression. But like, thanks because you’re kind of just proving our point???

I could keep going but I think you get the idea. This is the change we need to see. You know what we don’t need? Bystanders. We don’t the assistants, managers and drivers that stand idly by or aide in the success of predators. It’s sounds cliche but we really are all in this together (cue the High school Musical soundtrack) and we all need to work hard at reversing this idea that women exist for your satisfaction, in ANY way. We’re all human and we’re all equal, so let’s start thinking that way.


 

[1] Criminal Victimization in Canada, Statistics Canada, 2014, Available at: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2015001/article/14241-eng.pdf, page 5.

[2] Bill C-46: Records Applications Post-Mills, A Caselaw Review, Statistics on Sexual Assault, Government of Canada, Department of Justice, 2002, Available at: http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/csj-sjc/ccs-ajc/rr06_vic2/p3_4.html

[3] Sexual Assault History and Suicidal Behaviour in a National Sample of Women, Suicide and Life-Threatening Behaviour, 2002, p. 117, Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1521/suli.32.2.117.24398/epdf?r3_referer=wol&tracking_action=preview_click&show_checkout=1&purchase_referrer=scholar.google.ca&purchase_site_license=L

[4] Sexual Assault Statistics in Canada, https://www.sexassault.ca/statistics.htm

[5] Juristat Article—Measuring violence against women: Statistical trends, 2013, p. 31, http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2013001/article/11766-eng.pdf

Megan Davis