Hey, we need to talk. (no, Ghomeshi’s face is not here)

Image: MTV

Image: MTV

I like to keep things pretty light-hearted on LovemesaysFood, but if the my modus operandi is Live to love and love to eat, it’s pretty important to love the people in your lives and in your communities. In this specific instance, I am talking about the women in your life.

There are two recent events that have, together, made me think I should say this; they are the UN speech and campaign for feminism ‘He for She’, and Jian Gomeshi’s public statement. Part of me wondered if I wanted to give his name or even the cause any more fuel, because in a way that may be exactly what the PR statement was meant to do. But, I can’t worry about that, instead I can say that this can be situation that sheds light on the unfortunate state of our reality as far as assault goes, and as far as women go. No, I’m not a man-hater, in fact, I really like the company of both women and men haha.

I can throw a bunch of stats at you, to explain how few of the assaults or harassments are reported. I mean if ever there was anything less reported than say, foodborne illness, it would probably be assault on women. But let’s just look at how the system can be better, and how we can all be better at supporting and empowering the people around us. Having the knowledge of the problem is one thing, but changing behaviour is another.

Below is an article from the Toronto Star, which describes a few misconceptions about assault.  In my mind, it does not even have to be violent and/or sexual.

Take-away: the reason these acts are so underreported is, (let’s pretend her name is ‘she’), SHE

a) rationalises & trivialises the situation. ie) “oh, well i’m sure it’s ok, I was just in a bad place at a bad time”

b) isn’t empowered to say something because people think she’s joking or lying,

c) feels nothing will come of it.  — What can come of it? If anything, at least the statistics will be better reported and understood to fix  the problem!

d) feels at fault or it would give her a bad name

Lucy DeCoutere, a popular Canadian actress, said in her interview that she spoke with some friends [and she means pretty smart people] about sharing her experience and the response more often than not was ‘you’re joking’ or just overall dissuasion.

As women, it’s one thing to feel ‘strong and empowered’ to have skills or do a job, but when it comes to this subject, I would go so far as to say this is a human right that you should feel safe and in control of what happens to your body no matter the situation.  I’d like to just wrap up by summarising the myths here and also quote the regulations, for HE or SHE, who feel like there is any confusion in the interpretation on the law.  Maybe we need an anonymous online reporting system, well, someone thought of that.  But just talk to the ladies in your lives and don’t use the words of that ‘jilted ex-girlfriend’…. please?.

Myth No. 1: Women lie about sexual assault.
Myth No. 2: The victim provoked the assault.
Myth No. 3: Real victims call the cops immediately.
Myth No. 4: Rapists are dangerous strangers.
Myth No. 5: Rape is rare.

If you’d like to share your thoughts or opinions about this issue – please comment below, or email me at vania[at]lovemesaysfood.com

Criminal Code of Canada:

Section 271 – Sexual Assault:
Somebody touches you in a sexual way on purpose, directly or indirectly, without your consent.

Meaning of “consent”
273.1 (1) Subject to subsection (2) and subsection 265(3), “consent” means, for the purposes of sections 271, 272 and 273, the voluntary agreement of the complainant to engage in the sexual activity in question.
Sexual Assault

Section 265 Assault
265. (1) A person commits an assault when
(a) without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly;
(b) he attempts or threatens, by an act or a gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes that other person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose; or

(2) This section applies to all forms of assault, including sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm and aggravated sexual assault.

Where no consent obtained
(2) No consent is obtained, for the purposes of sections 271, 272 and 273, where:

(a) the agreement is expressed by the words or conduct of a person other than the complainant;

(b) the complainant is incapable of consenting to the activity;

Jian Ghomeshi has allowed us to dig up many of our putrid presumptions around sexual assault and let them fester publicly in the sunlight this week. Most of us know they aren’t true, the way we know that little boys aren’t more rambunctious than girls, and black men aren’t more sporty than Latinos. But we still…

Rape myths emerge in wake of Jian Ghomeshi story: Porter

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