“Because, the power of #MeToo isn’t just naming it. Naming it is just the beginning of the journey” -Tarana Burke
Leading up to BWSS 40 Years Later Commemoration with Tarana Burke at the Orpheum Theatre on November 25th, 2019, BWSS asked local activists to share how “Naming it is just the beginning of the journey”…
“Battered Women’s Support Services has been organizing to stand up to gendered violence when others would not or could not, supporting all women and girls facing gendered violence for 40 years.
Recognizing that historical and ongoing racism and colonization intersect with misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia, BWSS works to lift marginalized women and non-binary persons impacted by these systemic injustices and has rightfully earned the respect of community groups and our elders for it.
BWSS has been a consistently reliable partner in my work to address the systemic oppression that afflicts some Canadians. Every time I’ve called on BWSS to lend a hand, their answer was timely and meaningful. I recently turned to BWSS for support and guidance to help a woman stay safe from the likely blow-back that I expected would result from filing a police complaint related to serial sexual violence in a highly-volatile situation. BWSS knew what to do. Thanks to them, a predator’s actions were reported to police when we could empower a woman to say #MeToo to help protect others from the sexual violence she had faced.
The #MeToo movement acknowledged publicly what we all knew to be true: what too many women, too many girls, too many people still face gendered violence and unchallenged predatory conduct today that remains endemic to our culture. #MeToo names the toxic manipulation of power imbalances brought out by patriarchy’s misogyny.
BWSS is here for us, addressing the harm and working for change. They are ready to help women, girls, and everyone else facing gendered violence, so they don’t have to face it alone.
But what about addressing #MeToo, BWSS asked me. What are the next steps?
We know gendered violence is an act of using power and privilege. We need to talk about why it happens. Let’s have a long conversation about the public policy we need in place to address this. As Tarana Burke tells us, “we have to dismantle the building blocks of sexual violence: power and privilege,” and we must impress on our selves and our children that body autonomy is a fundamental human right.
We must work with one another to hold people accountable when they inflict violence on any of us. The #MeToo movement names the problem, but preventing gendered violence is more effective than bringing consequences to it or even repairing its damage. As a society, we need to ensure we cultivate agency and respect so future generations can free themselves of the scourge of patriarchy’s enablement of gendered violence.
Like racism, transphobia, or any other supremacist framework, misogyny is far from an inborn trait. Too often, we teach misogyny and toxic masculinity to our children. We have to stop or at least counter this by teaching other values meaningfully. To do this, we must prioritize education about agency and respect when we know it is most effective: during early childhood. I love that our society is finally teaching children to value the inclusion of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities or expressions. It makes them stronger, and it makes us all safer.
Let’s ensure our children’s education exposes them to consent and justice earlier. Let’s teach our young we believe them. Let’s show them they will do better lifting others rather than stepping on them. Let’s demonstrate to our children that they are valued when they apply the lessons we struggle to impart on them because too few of us received that knowledge’s gift early enough.
We must do this if we are going to live up to the trust those who said #MeToo showed”.
We are seeking ticket sponsorship for individuals who otherwise would be unable to attend, if you would like to sponsor tickets please email [email protected]
We are so grateful for our generous sponsors!
- Ivani Aparecida Adamastor
- Davida LeComte
- Luiza Brenner
- Claudia Maldonado
- Melek Ortabasi
- Kim Wong
- Hannah McGregor
- LOVE Fundraising
- Cystech Solutions Inc.
- SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement
- Elevate Inclusion Strategies
- Vancouver Community College Faculty Association
- Massy Books
- IATSE Women’s Committee