I have thought a lot about writing this. I do not blog. I am not a frequent user of social media. However, I am female; I am a mother; and frankly, I am angry.
I am angered by the fact that the definition of consent is something that continues to require discussion.
I am tired of the lack of surprise over new stories of rape and violence towards women in the media.
I am disappointed that the narrative continues of a young man who ignores consent and only spends three months paying for that mistake prior to going on with his life. Unfortunately, the woman in this story will live with the results of his choice forever.
I am disheartened that in 2016 there is a different political playbook for women who seek to participate in public office. A playbook that brushes off intimidation and harassment because of their gender as “part of the game”.
I am frustrated that the city that I call home continues to rank dismally low in national rankings of security (economic, personal, etc.) for women.
So, what does one do when they are continually angered, frustrated, and tired with these facts? One could maintain focus on what is wrong with the society we live in or what has brought us here.
Instead, I choose, rather, I promise to focus on what I can do in my circle to drive change.
I choose to support an amazing organisation like YWCA Edmonton whose very mandate is to support and advocate for women, children, and their families.
I choose to teach my sons that consent is not silence. Consent is “yes” and only “yes”.
I choose to turn my anger into action by advocating as a voice for women who are still fighting for equality… even though it is 2016.
These are my choices, and however small, they are a step forward. A step forward that is infinitely better than standing still.
I hope you will join me in stepping forward.
- Renee Oxley, YWCA Board President