We ended 2014 reeling from the allegations of violent sexual assaults and drugging victims against Jian Gomeshi and Bill Cosby, sexual improprieties on Parliament Hill and sexually violent threats by Dalhousie University dental students. We had a break over the seasonal holidays and now we are starting 2015 with more news of the suspension from clinical practice of 13 male Dalhousie dental students and public protests over Bill Cosby’s shows in Canada. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne waded into the discussions in saying to the media “there are very serious allegations against this man (Bill Cosby) and certainly until those are sorted out I would certainly not go to a performance.”
Forty years ago when I was a young woman we would not have been talking openly about these issues, they certainly would not have been front page news and prominent public figures would not have been taking outspoken stands on the issues. In fact most women were either too ashamed to tell anyone about their assaults or blamed themselves for what had happened. Scars that last a lifetime were left by the shame and fear that victims of sexual assault and harassment felt.
It seems that times have changed over those forty years and it’s a good thing. It isn’t that sexual violence and harassment have dramatically increased of late it’s that we are finally talking about it, listening to the victims and giving them support and it’s about time.
SWOVA – Empowering Youth for a Better Tomorrow