Resistance: Righteous Rage in the Age of #Metoo
Edited by Sue Goyette | University of Regina Press (Regina, Sask., 2021)
$24.95 | 156pp.
Sexual assault should be an issue for us all.
In Canada, 82 per cent of those who experience sexual assault are girls. Girls are four times more likely to be assaulted by family members than boys.
Around the world, 35 per cent of women experience sexual harassment during their lifetimes. Racialized and Indigenous women and children, trans people and those living in poverty suffer assault at higher rates than the national average. While some men and boys also suffer sexual assault, across the board the perpetrators are overwhelmingly male.
On Sept. 17, students at Western University in London, Ont., staged a walkout to protest a rash of on-campus assaults, chanting “Stop this violence. No more silence.” One of the brave young women who organized the action said: “We are with you, we hear you, and we make a commitment to you today that we will continue to work until the culture on our campus is one of community and safety.”
But as anyone paying attention to the voices of feminists over the past decades knows, campuses are not the only sites where sexual assault occurs, and survivors who speak out are too often ignored or dismissed.
Across Canada, a 2014 study by the YWCA revealed that for every thousand sexual assaults that occur, only 33 are reported, only 29 are recorded as a crime by police, only 12 charges are laid, only six are prosecuted and only three lead to convictions. Little wonder so few are reported.
Resistance: Righteous Rage in the Age of #Metoo, the searingly beautiful and heartbreaking anthology of poetry edited by prize-winning Halifax poet and novelist Sue Goyette, speaks out for all the survivors who have been silenced.
The poems in this remarkable collection come from writers across Canada, and they challenge the reader to recognize just how common and destructive rape culture and patriarchy are. They offer words of solidarity and sisterhood to survivors and they challenge male readers to face the unpalatable facts that sexual assault is an ongoing horror for survivors, and that the horror is designed to support our own illicit patriarchal power.
In the words of Unite, the poem that provides this anthology with its final statement, “This is not an invitation to be disrespected/For you who use me as you wish/I will demand respect/My sisters will demand respect/Our voices will echo/And we will be heard.”
Tom Sandborn lives and writes in Vancouver. He welcomes your feedback and story tips at firstname.lastname@example.org
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