For the staff of Nova Vita and Closet Couture, stories of workplace harassment and assault are not new and not surprising. After all, we’ve been dealing with and healing abused women and their children since 1983. What is new is the sudden social consciousness about this long-standing social issue and the”revolution of refusal” movement that seems to finally have a foothold.
Women who came forward recently with their stories about being sexually harassed and assaulted by high profile men have finally been heard and we’re cautiously optimistic that the “genie is out of the bottle.”
While this movement has exploded in the US, a recent Maclean’s magazine article points out that this problem has no borders.
“It is Canada. It’s the office you work in. The school you go to. The cafe you are sitting in right now. It is the streets you walk on each day. It is every industry—including the self-regarding liberal mainstream media. It is many (but crucially not all) men, in many rooms and almost every woman. Make no mistake: Sexual harassment is utterly ubiquitous and endemic to the culture we live in. This is not a witch hunt, it’s a statement of pure, inescapable truth. And maybe if we keep saying it, over and over in larger and larger numbers someday, somehow it might begin to change.”
CBC News reminds Canadians that we had our own high profile scandal even before the explosion south of the border.
“When CBC radio broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi was fired in 2014 and charged with sexual assault, it generated a national conversation about workplace conduct and about violence against women. His trial in 2016, where Ghomeshi was found not guilty on all charges, dominated headlines.”
In spite of setbacks, all indicators are that this has become a global movement with tangible momentum. Canadian women have risen up participating in #MeToo marches and have added their voice to the millions from around the world that are demanding change.
Not everyone was supportive of Nova Vita when it launched in 1983. There were those who were publicly critical and still others that held secret biases about women and their responsibility in domestic violence.
The #metoo movement has not silenced every naysayer, but it’s a major milestone along a rocky road. We still have a long way to go, but let’s embrace the “fast forward” jump that has propelled us to better understanding, awareness, and solidarity.