For the past few weeks I have been reading Stevie Cameron’s new book On the Farm about the investigation Robert William Pickton’s crimes in B.C.
I’m reading the book because I’m interested in how the investigation was handled, and because I have an interest in serial killers.
At the same time as I am trying to finish this book to return it to the library on time, the evidence against Russell Williams is being presented in court. The man pleaded guilty to two murders and countless other charges in a courthouse not far away from my first apartment in Belleville.
In both of these cases I have read things I wish I could erase from my memory. I now know too much about women who were brutalized, killed, violated. Young girls in some cases. A lot of these cases were ignored because the women had chosen their lot in life. (You know, after abusive childhoods, controlling relationships…)
I am a woman. I have a daughter. I am a feminist.
I am sick and tired of hearing excuses as to why some women matter less than others, and why women in general matter less than men.
I am sick and tired of women being blamed for the actions of their attackers, because men only do bad things when women wear skirts that are too short or they drink too much or they say no when they must mean yes.
I am tired of wondering if I’ve just been lucky so far in my life, and I’m tired of wondering if my daughter will be as lucky, or if I will come home one day to find her beaten and crying and blaming herself.
I don’t want her to feel at fault if something happens to her, and I don’t want her to wonder if she’ll be believed or attacked, belittled. Much like I want to protect her from feeling as though she’s not pretty enough or thin enough, I want to protect her from feeling as though she can be broken.
And I don’t know how.
When I was in Grade 9 we had self-defense training as part of our gym class. I felt good after those sessions. I felt stronger and more aware. I want to take a self defense class with her at some point.
But I also want to teach her that the responsibility doesn’t always fall to her. That if someone does something to her it will not be because she didn’t defend herself well enough.
I want the world to change where the blame gets laid. I want men to get angry at the men who are giving them a bad name. I want women to surround and support the women who are in pain.