One eBay seller closed off her feedback on me with “light and love.” I imagined her to be a neo-hippy, but I like the sentiment.
Light is so important. I have a suggestion – let’s shine light in some dark corners. By that, I mean that when someone does something dark, let us expose the wrongdoing. I know that this would mean some distasteful conversations, but it might be a way to stop and deter the wrongdoers.
I still feel guilty that when I was sexually harassed by someone in a position of power, I simply walked away instead of making sure that the other people involved with this person could protect their more vulnerable victims. I mentioned the harassment to a couple of people, but I felt that I was being unladylike talking about such unsavoury behaviour. Same with when I became aware of dishonest behaviour by others.
I guess what I’m advocating is to be a whistleblower. This has the potential to protect future victims. If malfaisance (wrongdoing, if you’re not up on your French) was no longer a secret, the less scrupulous among us might think twice before doing something dishonest or unsavoury. The women who report harassment or assault much later on, only to be asked why the deeds weren’t reported earlier, know that they needed to have their courage buoyed by the corroborating claims of other women. Yet in the interval between the deed and the reporting, others were victimized.
I would like to see a movement where each and every one of us behaves in such a way that our actions could be done in full light. If we aren’t ready to live in full light and openness, then perhaps we need to rethink our actions. This doesn’t mean that we have the right to judge others simply because they have a different lifestyle, but it does mean that if someone does me wrong I will expose their actions to the light. There’s no shame in saying you’ve been cheated or assaulted – the shame belongs to the perpetrator not the victim.
Sorry folks – I realize that this is not a “ light” subject. It is rather heavy but is a step towards the cultural change that will lead to justice for many people who have suffered in silence. As soon as the wrongdoers start to feel the fear of being exposed, we can live in a society that deters those who would take advantage of others. Love and light to you all.
Manon is a resident of Boyle Street and an active volunteer in the community. This column contains her own opinions, and is not affiliated with the Boyle Street Community League.