“I honestly believe men can be feminists, too, and should be,” Brant MPP Dave Levac told participants at Brantford’s annual Take Back the Night march last Thursday.
That’s a bold statement, considering many women today are still uncomfortable with what’s been deemed sardonically as the “F-word” around Laurier Brantford’s campus.
Levac’s speech touched on one important point – a belief that the most fundamental way to counter sexual violence is by changing our perception of women. It’s an ideological battleground that many think has been unifying for all the wrong reasons, mainly that women, be they students or residents, have had a disproportionately hard time changing those negative biases.
“I think that it’s a case where the onus is on women to protect themselves, and we don’t focus very much on the perpetrators,” said Carrie Sinkowski, community education and outreach co-ordinator for the Sexual Assault Centre of Brant.
That’s a problem that becomes ever more pressing for a small city such as Brantford, and a small campus such as Laurier. As Sexual Assault Centre executive director Joanna Brant explained, most sex crimes are committed by familiar or trusted people. Our notion of rape as an act committed by shadowy outsiders is just flat-out wrong, not to mention detrimental.