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For those of you that know me, and I suppose for anyone that reads this blog, you know that I have an opinion about pretty much everything. Hence the picture of my change purse 🙂 I also feel deeply about people.

Over the past few weeks I have kept my 2 cents primarily to myself. I haven’t commented or even shared anything about the Stanford sexual assault case and until now I hadn’t said anything about Orlando either. Today though, something broke. I sat at work on a mini break scrolling through my Facebook feed and came across a post about a mother who received texts from her son while he was at the club. I had been doing everything I could to avoid feeling too much about either situation and then suddenly I couldn’t, I could not avoid it anymore. This afternoon it was like an elephant was sitting on my heart.

My two cents about the Stanford case- without having read the father’s letter or the survivors letter- this case sickens me to no end. Being someone who has facilitated consent workshops, discussed bystander intervention and had many, many, many conversations about sex, consent and sexual assault my mind simply cannot wrap itself around what happened. I cannot being to understand how a young man thought it was okay or somehow managed to justify to himself that sexually assaulting a young woman was not a crime.

News flash for all those who still do not seem to understand what consent means- YES. Consent means that the person you want to have sex with says YES. Consent means that you ask and they say YES. Consent means that you have constant check ins as your sexual encounter progresses and everyone involved keeps saying YES. Consent means that both parties (or more) are all agreeing to the same thing. Consent means being fully alert and able to say YES. ANYTHING outside of this is NOT consent. This is really not hard to understand. TALK TO YOUR PARTNER!!! AND if you are not sure if you have consent or not, I’m gonna help you out- you DON’T!!!

To the asshole that committed this crime; please know that what you did is NOT okay. Please know that it was NOT 20 minutes of action. Please know that it was violence and had NOTHING to do with sex. Please know that just because you only did it once does not mean that you are excused. Please know that there is nothing you can do to make it better and that you have caused serious harm to another human being.

To the judge that handed out the most RIDICULOUS sentence I have EVER heard- WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?!!! You are the biggest asshole of the whole situation!!! You have basically gone ahead and told the whole country that it is not that bad to do what this guy did. I wouldn’t wish the experience that this woman went through on anyone and I have to wonder what you would have done if it had been your daughter who was the survivor. And if the sentence you handed out would have been the same then you really truly are an asshole and I seriously hope you do not have any daughters.

To the two men who witnessed the horrible act and managed to hold the perpetrator until the police arrived- thank you. Thank you for standing up for the young woman who could not stand up for herself. Thank you for being there and for being the bystanders that we so desperately need. Thank you for knowing that what was happening was not right and for doing something about it.

To the young woman who was violated, I am sorry. There are no words that I can say that will make it better. The only ones I have for you are, it’s not your fault. What happened is not your fault no matter what anyone might say to imply that. You did not deserve what happened, you did not ask for it to happen and you did not want it to happen. I want to hold you and tell you that it is not your fault and that you are loved.

To all the young women who are survivors- please also hear those words; it’s not your fault.

It is not your fault.

To all the young men who treat others with honour and respect please continue to do so. You make a difference and we need you. We need you to keep being the beacons of what men can be for all the others who are not sure that they can do it.

Now Orlando…

I know I have words but it feels like there really are none. I cannot even begin to understand this one. There is just so much that you can talk about- guns, LGBT, religion… In the end the only thing that matters is that people have died because someone decided to walk into a space and murder them. This fact is horrible in every single instance that it has ever happened.

How long is it going to take before humans realize that we are one people living in 6 billion worlds? How long before we realize that when a tragedy like this happens we all feel it? How long before we realize that these horrifying acts live in our bodies and get carried on? How long before we realize that LOVE is way more powerful than hate? How long before we realize that we are all on this earth to live a human experience and that each of us deserves the respect to be able to do so?

AND how long before people start to question what they think they know about others and start to realize that ‘others’ are just different versions of themselves?!

I may not like everyone that I meet, but I love them. I say I love you to people all day everyday. People in my life have gotten used to it because they know it’s true because they can feel it. We all have so much love to give and it is so much easier to give it when there are no strings attached and you just love. I do not like everyone, and I do not have to. I do however, have to treat people with compassion, respect and the benefit of the doubt.

Love is love is love is love is love and love is what the world needs now- LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of it. Please open your hearts and give just a little more love than you normally would. And please take time to sit with yourself and reflect on the fact that regardless of what you have been taught or told perhaps it is actually possible that we can all live on this earth respectful of each other and lovingly.