If Elizabeth and I ended up having an awesome little girl, instead of an awesome little boy, I’m pretty sure that eventually I would have ended up in jail.
Let me explain.
In April of 2014, the CBC reported on a study which stated that Edmonton is the worst place in Canada to be a woman. Citing wages, domestic violence and political representation, it paints a pretty bleak picture of the city I call home. None of these would have been the catalyst to my prior statement though.
Several years ago I read a quote on Facebook (which I will attribute to Kelta Coomber but am not 100% sure) which stated, after a series of sexual attacks on women in the river valley that, “Police want us to get out of the river valley so that we don’t get sexually assaulted, and prefer us to walk down Whyte Ave. where we will be sexually harassed.”
Guts Magazine takes the above story from the CBC a poignant step further.
I would not be able to handle anything happening to my daughter, or my wife, in such a manner. Would I be able to handle it if something happened to my son? Fuck no, but most sexual harassment and assaults don’t happen against men. I’m playing the odds here people. I’m playing the reality. Most women I’ve talked to in this city have a story about something or someone harassing them. Some have shared stories of rape. I’m trying to be calm. Edmonton has a problem.
Does every city have a problem with harassment and assault? Sure, but I don’t live in every city. And, I’ve never seen it like I’ve seen it in Edmonton.
Stand on Whyte Ave. or Jasper Ave. on a busy night and you will see what I mean. It is sad. Yelling from cars. From bars. Walking along anywhere. Women just trying to get the fuck home. Just trying to go to the grocery story. Just trying to walk their dogs. It’s ridiculous. Men and boys yelling at women. I’ve seen it countless times. I’ve yelled back at the guys. A couple times, in situations, punches were thrown.
If this were my daughter or my wife it probably wouldn’t end there.
I probably would do something incredibly stupid.
I’d probably end up in jail or worse.
I’m not bragging about how tough I think I am or about how macho or any of that. In fact, I’m a little embarrassed for saying this. But, I’m trying to get across a position of frustration.
I could theorize as to why this happens. Entitled men with too much money and booze, ramped up on machismo, thinking that anything that catches their eye is something that is theirs and therefore must be treated as some form of object.
All I can do is make sure that my son respects all the women in his life. I’m very lucky that he has such a strong and intelligent mother as a female role model.
When he is old enough to understand, I will say to him, “Women like men who aren’t loudmouth, entitled pricks. Humans like men who aren’t loudmouth, entitled pricks.”
I don’t know what else to say.
If we had a girl, I’d get into trouble.
*Editor’s Note: We did end up having a girl. She just turned 2.
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