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Because The Conversation Needs to Continue

I bring this up in fits and starts, because it is big and unwieldy and I don’t know all the answers. I didn’t want to call myself a feminist, or an egalitarian, for a long time. I didn’t want to rock the boat.

(I don’t like to rock the boat. I am not a strong swimmer, and one time I tipped a canoe and my dad and sister and I floundered in the lake, and we all survived, but my dad lost his boots and his compass and I still feel badly about that and can taste the fear of clinging onto the thankfully buoyant boat. That's a true story, but it's also a metaphor and I'm sure you can figure it out.)

But I’m not done talking about being a woman or wanting to feel safe or how my communities need to change how we talk about women.

Because it is strange to meet your neighbours at midnight, when two girls come knocking on your door to ask if maybe you or someone you know is on the fire escape.

Because you tell them no, and they should phone the police, because two years ago when there was a peeping tom, that’s what you did, and they took it seriously, and that is the best thing to do.

Because they are scared and now you are scared, and grateful for the extra deadbolt on the fire escape door in your room, and relieved that you are moving in a week.

Because your friend admits that she is afraid she might punch her fiancé sometime, instinctively, because boys in the past have not respected her, and that fear doesn’t just magically go away.

Because now she’s so close to sex being morally condoned and great and etc etc, but there are years’ worth of lies to unlearn, and shame to reject, and who is talking about what it’s all like, and in the church, maybe you have some honest friends, but maybe no one is saying anything.

Because some girls are talking around a kitchen table and one admission of being abused leads to another’s, and you know of more – more girls and more baggage and more people who have taken advantage, who have touched what is not theirs to touch.

Because you know good men who say things sometimes that are wildly upsetting and how do you tell them that there are people in this room who have been raped and what they think is funny is actually a trigger to terror.

Because you walk through the park with your roommate on the way to work in the morning, and a man calls at the two of you and what he says is sexual and you take five steps in silence, and then she says, “Well, at least he used the proper terminology.” And you both laugh, because it is so ridiculous. But you feel such anger too.

Because every man you pass on the rest of the walk seems to have lechery in his eyes, and even though you’ve passed these men a hundred times, and smiled at them, you cannot look at their faces today.

Because the thought crosses your mind, Maybe if I were wearing something more “modest,” he wouldn’t have said that.*

Because there is so much brokenness and what I want is for things to be made whole.

Because Canada is supposed to be the best place in the world for women, but it isn’t good enough.

Because I believe the way forward is love and honesty and courage and listening to stories and looking to Jesus and I want to hear how are you making this world safer? How can I help create a better place? How do we teach our sons and daughters and nieces and nephews a better way?

*I've been saying I'll write about modesty for months - promised it back in October. But I feel like Emily has done an excellent job of saying almost all of what I would say, and now she and Shane are having a dialogue on modesty & lust & porrnography and the whole gamut, and if you're church-folk, I highly encourage you to tune in/check it out/weigh in. And if you aren't church-folk, I still think it's an important dialogue; although you may disagree with many of its premises, it comes down to respect and mutual care and self-ownership. 


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