Rape culture is a thing, guys.

I do have other hobbies, other than raging against the patriarchy.

I'm a big lover of making collages and as a result, people often give me old magazines, newspapers and anything funky they think I'd like to cut up and turn into something else.

In this case, I was given a huge stack of Chatelaine and McCall's magazines from the '70s. Some serious GEMS in those magazines. The magazines are all in mint shape and besides the LOL hairstyles and cringe worthy ads for unimaginably disgusting food products, I found this hard hitting piece of journalism. 

A 1971 Chatelaine article (that is several pages long) lamenting how rape myths make womyn vulnerable to sexual assault and as a result, allow perpetrators to live without consequence is important stuff. 

That we've been talking about the same old tropes and stereotypes for decades is proof that rape culture is not only alive and well, but has been for quite some time. 

(See scan of article below) 

Backlash & The Myth of Acceptance

I talk for a living.

I wear many hats in my day-to-day, but I get paid to talk and in particular, as a public educator. I visit communities, elementary schools, high schools, campuses, military bases, faith groups, various workplaces and everything in between to talk sexual violence, bystander intervention and community support.

I’ve worked in this field for over a decade.

In that time, I’ve given literally hundreds of workshops, lectures, presentations and spoken on panels.

I’m a busy bee.

There appears to be a lot of mythology around the work I do and in particular, the reception I get. There’s this idea that everywhere I go is a giant love-in.  Maybe it’s because my work is so visible in the media or because I have a lot of followers on Twitter or because I’ve won awards. Or maybe it’s part of some right-wing conspiracy that the world is super feminist and misandrist. Je ne sais pas.  

But as a result of this myth, every time I talk about the resistance and hate I face in my work, I get a lot of eye rolls with the assumption that

1- I'm lying


2- I’m conflating people disagreeing with me as harassment.

Let me be clear: I am met with resistance everywhere I go.

On being "That Kid"

If you catch me on a good day, I'll tell you the whole story and the punch line, which is that my memoirs will be called "Puking in cars with boys: A lifetime of chronic illness".

I was always "that kid".

Reproductive Justice & Fact-Checking in the 21st Century

It has been one weird year for reproductive justice in this country. DAMN. 

I really didn’t plan to blog about this. Honest. But I’ve been ranting about it on Twitter for so long and two anti-choice sites/groups called me out by name  so here I am.

Let’s finally get the story straight, mmkay? 

Community Accountability

[TRIGGER WARNING: This post discusses sexual violence. Please exercise self-care.]

Working in this sector means I end up being the 'Dear Abby' of my social circle. I don't mind; it comes with the territory.

But a friend approached me with a story recently that has really resonated with this concept I've been trying to get across in more and more of my public education work. The idea of community accountability. (*For the record, I am by no means claiming to be the inventor of 'community accountability', both as a title, concept or approach to this work. This is just my attempt to flesh out what it looks like in my own work.] 

Here's the story.

How I will live my life once we've ended rape culture

“But if rape culture was dismantled, you’d be out of a job, no?” He said slyly with a clear “AHA!” twinkle in his eye. You know, that moment where someone thinks they’ve painted you into a corner and now have to confess to all your wrongdoings. Those moments where you’re locked in a battle with someone who is in no way invested in the answer but just wants to walk away feeling like they “gotcha”.

A variation of this happens to me fairly often, both off and online.

It’s born from the idea that because I am paid to be a public educator against sexual violence, I am invested in the upholding of rape culture. If you’re into capitalism, I suppose it’s an easy conclusion to draw.

But it has clearly never occurred to people that I loathe most parts of my job. Doing prevention work with receptive audiences? I’ll happily do that all day every day. But the other 95% of my day job? Eff that.

Supporting womyn who have been incredibly traumatized? Hate it.

Making the same statements over and over and over again and being heard less than 50% of the time? Hate it.

Working 70 hours a week and getting paid an absurdly low wage for 40 hours of that work? Hate it.

Because MRAs, anti-feminists and general smartasses think they’ve got this in the bag, here it is:

What I Will Do Once We Dismantle Rape Culture

Tools of the trade

Being an effective activist takes more than just a lot of rage and some free time. It makes the job a heck of a lot easier if you have the right tools. Here's a peek into my 'tool box'. (Unsurprisingly, a lot of my tools are yellow!) 

Talking about rape culture with 13 year old boys

I have the privilege of working with youth on the regular and it feeds my soul. It really, truly does. It's my touchstone to the 'real world' and my reminder that this work is worth doing it.

With everything going on at the University of Ottawa right now, there have been lots of conversations about rape culture and engaging men. 

When a group of guys threaten a womyn with rape and their defense is "Hey, this is just guy talk! This is how dudes roll. You don't understand us", it's proof that maybe we understand you all too well, asshole. 

But besides my snarky knee jerk reaction, their defense breaks my heart. It breaks my heart because sadly, yeah, lots of dudes think that the best way to argue with a womyn is to resort to threatening her. But I truly believe that there are many more solid dudes than shitty ones. 

So, I put it out there to my Twitter followers: If I was trying to explain rape culture to your 13 year old self, what would have resonated with you? 

Too Legit To Quit

In December 2012, I was a speaker at TEDxSandyHill. Unfortunately, much time has passed and none of the videos have been released, nor any of the photos from the afternoon portion. And of course, I was in the afternoon. Oy!

Below is the text from my talk.

Resolutions + 'Fuck It' Lists

A new year! A new start! A new attempt at making resolutions that never pan out! A new deluge of self-help blog posts trying to help you keep to your resolutions! A new sense of failure!

Look, I can't get judgy. I make resolutions every year. I'm also stubborn enough to stick to them every year.

This year's resolution? Sit less.

I work a lot but most of it is in front of a computer or in meetings. Sitting is considered the contemporary health issue in North America and I can't deal with another health problem. I started being more aware of how much time I sit late last year and I want to keep it up.

What's really helped is the StandApp, an app that gives you an alarm to tell you to get up and then it gives you an exercise to do for a few minutes. Ignore the fat-shaming elements and just concentrate on the actual alarm and exercises and you're set. It's also free!

But don't like the inevitable guilt that comes from breaking your resolution? Make a "Fuck It List"! No, I'm serious.

In 2012, when it was all the rage to make a "Bucket List", my cynical self decided to make a "Fuck It List" instead. It was honestly one of the most freeing exercises I've ever done. It's a great way of staying true to yourself and saying "You know what? These are my vices/loves/no-fly-zones. Take it or leave it, universe".

I was reminded of my own list when friends on my timeline were circulating this great and hilarious post on Medium.

To help you get inspired, here is my own "Fuck It List", developed in 2012 and still standing today!

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