Today I scrolled through facebook and came across a facebook post from someone stating how ridiculous it is that Canadians were participating in the Women’s March on Washington. I’m paraphrasing, but his comments indicated that he believed the march was taking place in a bid to change the presidency of the United States or at least stop some of the changes that Donald Trump has stated he wants to make, which will not happen.
I responded in the long winded way that I often do, sharing a story about being a young single mom at a time that the Provincial Premiere declared open season on single moms. He made huge cuts to the financial support available to single parents, eliminated support for students (making it harder for people to improve themselves and get themselves off of benefits), changed social assistance so that those on it and working could not keep any of the money they earned (eliminating the desire to work for most) and made statements that single moms could live on bologna and Kraft dinner because that’s all they deserved. What he really did was give the general public permission to treat single mothers with disrespect and even cruelty, and they did so with gusto.
Donald Trump is walking a similar path. He has repeatedly made dehumanizing and disrespectful statements about women. He is giving the United States, and eventually the world, permission to treat women as less than men. He says that it is acceptable to physically touch a woman without her permission. He believes that women who feel they are being harassed at work should just quit, and women in the military should expect to be assaulted. In a world that already lets rapists to walk away with a slap on the wrist, world leaders can not be allowed to encourage this kind of thinking.
Today’s March on Washington was meant to shut down that way of thinking. It was about solidarity among women. It was sending a message to the leaders of the world that we will not be treated like second class citizens and we will not move backwards in history. We will not be manhandled, assaulted or dismissed. We will stand together and support one another. The message is not that the presidency should change, but that the views of the President of the US will not be accepted. This was not a march against Trump, but a march FOR women. This is not an American issue, but a global issue that was triggered by US events.
The facebook debate was long and included a lot of arguments from people supporting the march and those who didn’t understand it and was eventually deleted by the original poster. Deleting the thread bothered me more than the guy who called the women protesters “fucktards” and more than the guy who asked what Trump had ever done to women (seriously…does he live under a rock?). Deleting this conversation was another way of silencing me and the other women who commented. It was a way of letting us know that our voices do not matter.
I will not be silent or silenced. I am a woman who has dealt with sexism, assault, discrimination and even rape. I have a mother, a sister, aunts, nieces, great-nieces and a daughter who have all faced the same in one way or another. I want a future where these are things my children read about in the history books, not live with every day. I didn’t march today, but I applaud everyone who did. I want to thank each of them for marching for me and all other women in the world. Together, we can make a change.