By Suzy Gilbert
After reading all my columns in the past couple months, hopefully you are more aware of some of the issues that unfortunately plague many women and other minority groups. But what do we do with all this awareness?
Where do we go from here?
If you want to be an ally, starting small with your daily conversations is a great way to start.
Challenge people on behaviour and words that promote rape culture, victim blame, slut shame, are predatory, demeaning, sexist, racist, and verbally abusive.
So, if someone is saying they want to get wasted and hook up with so and so, you could say, “having sex with someone who is wasted isn’t entirely consensual.” If you’re comfortable, you could go on to explain that, having sex when you are blackout drunk is a by-product of rape culture that has been engrained into the ways we grew up, especially with the lack of education around sex and alcohol.
Do you have a mainsplainy or interruptive, sexist co-worker? Stick up for yourself and your peers by reiterating what you do know, or say, “Actually, I wasn’t finished with my point. As I was saying…”
Essentially what you’re doing is sticking up for yourself and others with yours words. What you’re doing is challenging harmful behaviours and beliefs in a very real and tangible way.
So, what seems like a small start in having these conversations is actually a powerful grassroots movement that you can and should feel empowered by!
Another way to get involved and work towards positive change is to volunteer your time with local organizations that share your beliefs and mission.
Some great Winnipeg organizations that you could volunteer with are:
- Klinic Community Health
- Women’s Health Clinic
- Red Tent
- Villa Rosa
- N.E.E.D.S. Inc.
- Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre
- Siloam Mission
- Main Street Project
And so many more!
A quick Google search will help you find a place that fits what you’re looking for. Volunteering is a great way to meet like-minded people that are working towards the same goals as you. Who knows, maybe a new organization can be born because of a new connection you made through talking with kindred-spirits.
Making change seems big and scary sometimes, but it has to start somewhere, and the best way to do that is through talking, making connections, and getting organized for bigger moves.
Suzy Gilbert is finishing her last term at Red River College in the Creative Communications program and is the founder of Together, an awareness campaign promoting consensual sexual experiences through respect, communication and sex positivity. Together strives to support and educate young people about safe and healthy sexual relationships and consent culture. You can find Together on Instagram at @togetherwpg, on Facebook at Together Winnipeg and on its website at togetherwpg.ca.