Tag Archives: empowering women

3 Things That are NEVER Funny

I consider myself to be a person with a hefty humour, and I like a good sarcastic joke. But something that I have been reflecting on as of late is the misogynistic jokes that have found their way into my relationships with guys, and I let them slide because I didn’t want to be “That girl.” You know that girl, the one who is a little too intense about women’s issues, the girl who takes every opportunity to share her opinions about women’s rights.. I could go on, but I think you get the picture.  But if I don’t take the time to speak these truths, then I am doing a discredit to the fiery passion for human dignity and empowerment that is written on my soul.

Here are three recurring jokes that I can pinpoint throughout different times in my life that are NEVER acceptable, EVER.

1.Violence

I have actually had guys jokingly threaten me when not happy with something I am doing or saying. “I will punch you in the face,” “I will kick you,” “I want to choke you right now.” I am not kidding. At the time, I would just jokingly return in kind, saying that I would hit them back or kick them in the balls. Now that I reflect back, I am horrified that I ever spent time with these people. It is NEVER funny to joke in this way. A guy who is genuinely concerned about your safety and cherishes you wouldn’t find this funny or acceptable in any situation.

2. Numbers

Believe it or not, I actually had a guy give me a score on my “Wife-Abilities.” There were categories such as Cooking, Appearance and Mothering… The list goes on. I kid you not. I know what you are thinking, “Where in the world do you find these guys, Ehjae?” You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. I cannot express the damage that was done to my soul in this experience. While it is the most extreme case that I’ve experienced, sadly it is not the only one. I have heard guys describe women as numbers in different categories more times than I care to repeat. “Her face is a 4, but her cannons are a 10”
Women struggle with perfection and comparison on our own. We always feel like we fall short of the standard, and are gloriously reminded that this is the case with the barrage of media reminding us to stay fit, but not too fit; to be nice, but not too nice; to be successful, but not too successful; and to be the perfect mother/wife. If a guy ever, EVER removes your dignity by describing you OR ANYONE ELSE by a number, walk away. No, RUN away. It will never change, and you will forever feel like a prisoner trying to be freed from the prison of “Not Enough.”

3.“WOMAN”

Have you ever been called, “Woman” by someone? It’s always said in a mocking voice, “Woman, make me a sandwich; Woman, bring me a beer.”

 MY NAME IS EHJAE.

Calling me “Woman” tells me that this is all that you see. You see my breasts, and the opportunity for conquest between my legs. I can hear some of you protesting- that’s not the case. So what is the case? What is the pressing need for you to diminish our worth? The sake of a joke? I can tell you that no one is laughing. And further more, why would calling me “Woman” somehow grant you power, as if to say that a woman is weaker and must submit to your request?

The verdict is out, and the joke is on you, misogynistic men. Women are strong. We are courageous, and we are not going to be treated like this. “It was a joke.” is NOT a reasonable explanation to ever do any of the above. Having let people speak to me, and treat me in this way for much too long, I hope that it will take some of the beautiful women out there less than a quarter century to stop enabling these destructive language and patterns. It starts with us, ladies.  We must stop joking back, and start walking away.

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I’m not sorry for what I’m about to say.

There’s a part of me inside that is wanting to curl up and hide somewhere instead of writing this post. But another part of me has been screaming loudly, boiling my blood, reminding me that words like these must be spoken, no matter the hour, no matter the potential loss. I’m shaking as I write this because I’m scared of how this could be taken.  But I’m writing it because I’m scared of a world where we don’t speak up.

Earlier, I was out with some friends at the bar. A young woman walked in wearing a beautiful sundress, walking in heels. Some of the people seated at my table made faces at each other, and when they saw me catch their gaze in disdain, the justification was this “She wanted us to look at her if she came the bar dressed like that.”

Shock.

Anger.

Hurt.

Disappointment.

Silence.

Deafening Silence. I couldn’t say a word.

So the only logical reason that she was dressed up was for your visual stimulation? Since when are women only allowed to wear what you’ve dictated as “suitable bar clothing” without “inviting” lewd eye gawking and stupid comments? And dressing nicely suddenly means she’s a slut, or asking for attention? We’ve definitely come a long way in our modern era.

1 in 4 women are victims of sexual assault or know someone who has been a victim.

Common statements made by the perpetrators?( http://project-unbreakable.org/)

“It wasn’t rape, you were being such a tease.”

“You know you want it”

Now some of you are thinking, “Whoa, it’s just a girl at the bar. It’s just some dudes admiring her from afar. This isn’t rape.”

You’re right. It’s not. But it also isn’t really admiring her, because what was said to me revealed a lot more than what they thought of her appearance.

What that statement is doing is perpetrating the mentality that women are inviting disrespect and degradation in how they act or how they dress.  In fact, a person’s inability to honour a human being as a human being and not as a piece of meat tells me that they aren’t much more than a piece of flesh themselves. Let me tell you something about rape. It’s dehumanizing. It leaves the victim feeling completely worthless. The biggest struggle? Self-blame. Shame. Guilt. Self-hatred. Where does this come from? hmm.. I wonder. Perhaps it is this idea that a violating action or a debasing comment is somehow NOT the violator or the speaker’s fault because it was somehow provoked.

Let me ask you this, is it OK for a human being to ever be degraded below their fundamental worth? Because when I listen to you tear apart a girl because “her face isn’t hot, but she’s got great cannons” it shocks me. Then it disappoints me. It used to silence me because I didn’t want to be labelled as that girl who is “too uptight” or “takes things too seriously.”

I’m done letting people talk about other human beings like that.

I’m done being silent.

I’m not going to apologize for taking human worth “too seriously.”

So I’m not sorry at all.

Jane Galbreath & Hope for Her International

Founder of Hope for Her International
Jane Galbreath, Founder of Hope for Her International

Jane Galbreath is a fascinating human being.  If her dancing curls or her adorable dimples don’t captivate your heart, it will be her passion and gentle strength encased within a tenacious vulnerability that will grab your attention. A couple weeks ago, she contacted me regarding an upcoming fundraiser. I told her I would be happy to meet up and see how I could help out.  In our meeting together, she told me about the non-for-profit that she has founded and wondered if I would be willing to help her promote a fundraiser.  We met together to chat about her organization and I realized that people would naturally desire to get involved after hearing her heart.

Originally from Scotland, Jane moved to Canada in June 2004 when she was 18 years old. She left Scotland to travel and experience the world and to find a place of safety and healing from experiences in her past. Now holding a permanent resident status, Saskatoon is the home where she has found that safety and healing.  At first, after meeting such a vibrant human full of love and care, one wouldn’t expect such a dark history to have overshadowed her earlier years.  “I come from a background with sexual violence. I know the heartache and the shame that come from this, but I also know the strength that comes when you can make it to the other side and work through these things. I believe that survivors of violence are the answer to some of the issues” As a victim of sexual violence, Jane has walked through incredible pain and has struggled to find her healing and peace.  That violence which once enveloped her with shame and confusion has now led her to a place of personal strength and propelled her forward with clarity.

“We believe that when a community doesn’t accept [sexual violence] as normal, that it will stop”

In September 2013, Jane founded Hope for Her International. ““Hope for Her International is focused on ending sexual violence against women and girls, existing on a local and global level to collaboratively cultivate communities that won’t accept sexual violence as the norm. We believe that when a community doesn’t accept [sexual violence] as normal, that it will stop” Jane’s passion is not blinded by revenge or bitterness. The main goal behind Hope for Her International is in supporting communities to change the perspective surrounding incidences of sexual violence.  Hope for Her International is founded with a purpose that can seem impossible at times, but Jane’s vulnerable courage and fierce dedication to ending sexual violence seem like the perfect fit for such an organization. Finding her own hope and freedom was the catalyst that mobilized her into founding Hope for Her International.

 I want people to know that there is hope and that, as a community, we can bring an end to sexual violence.

“Why focus on issues of sexual violence? It’s a really hard topic, and it’s a topic that brings out a lot of shame and fear in people.  From a personal perspective, I’ve been a victim of sexual violence and I know the heartache and the shame and the hopelessness it creates, but I also know what it’s like to come out the other side as a survivor. I believe that victims of sexual violence can [find freedom and strength] with the help and support of their community, family and friends. So my desire is to use my own story as a way to tell other people about the issues that come with sexual violence and to advocate for survivors.  I want people to know that there is hope and that, as a community, we can bring an end to sexual violence. Jane and is not trained in counselling or support for victims of sexual violence, but she does understand the struggle in overcoming such an experience. She encourages any victims needing help to contact her and she will point them in the right direction to find support.

THERE IS HOPE

Founder of Hope for Her International
Jane Galbreath, Founder of Hope for Her International

“My message to people who have experienced sexual violence would be that it’s not your fault. It’s not your shame. You deserve to get help. And the last thing I want to say to you is no matter what happened; no matter how often; no matter how old or young you were; no matter how extreme it was, it was horrific and there is hope to come out of this. There is hope.”

 

How can you get involved?

On Wednesday June 11th, at 7pm Hope for Her International will be hosting its first fundraiser sponsored by Stephanie Schlosser with the Investors Group at the Broadway Theatre in Saskatoon.  Tickets are $15 in advance and are available online at www.hopeforher.ca/events.  The event will feature a viewing of the award winning documentary “Girl Rising.” All proceeds from this fundraiser will be used towards working with women and girls forced into prostitution in South East Asia, as well as towards the continued development of Hope for Her International’s work on a local level.

 

Links:

Buy tickets for the Hope for Her International fundraiser: www.hopeforher.ca/events

Visit the Facebook Page for the upcoming event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1422213631379938/

Follow Hope for Her International on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hopeforherinternational?ref=br_tf

Visit the Hope for Her blog: https://hopeforherblog.wordpress.com/tag/hope-for-her-international/

 

Have you experience sexual violence?

You are not alone. There is hope. Talk to someone.
http://saskatoonsexualassaultcentre.com/

http://www.kidshelpphone.ca/teens/home/splash.aspx

http://saskatoonsexualassaultcentre.com/

http://www.awhl.org/