Writing about us is a way to finally claim what happened as my truth, a space which is mine, where he can’t tell me what to feel. A moment, two years too late, of recognition. To say, without compromise or shame, I loved him. And he abused me. You don’t have to believe me. I don’t need him to read the emails. I just want to look in the mirror, see the girl staring back at me, and let her know that I’m sorry.
Picture the girl. See her pull the black cardigan closed in a tight fist as she shoves the heavy door open with her shoulder. The warm evening air hits her like a slap in the face. As she steps out onto the sidewalk and sees the sunset bleeding orange and pink, broad streaks of red and purple, she thinks, That’s it. Childhood is over.
#MeToo backlash is here, and it is exhausting.
This article is adapted from a keynote address delivered on Thursday, November 2nd at Queer Canada, a conference at Brock University in St. Catherine’s, Ontario.
Dedicated to the memory of Aiyyana Maracle and all my transsexual and Two Spirit relations who resist and continue to make beauty in the middle of a genocide.
This is what I can tell you: On a June night in 1986, my mother drinks from a tall glass of ice water. The radio might be on. If it is on, she is listening to Patti or Luther or The Pointer Sisters or Whitney. She might be singing, voice off-key but still rising proudly up her throat.
Our 2017 Creative Non-Fiction Contest Honourable Mention.
I’ve heard that when you see someone you love your pupils get bigger, as if your eyes themselves want to swallow them up and trap them inside.
Do you wonder if the people who assaulted you ever think about it?
Created in 1995 in the pre-digital video days of A/B roll editing, this educational video about media literacy examines the media's shaping of the Montréal Massacre to deconstruct media representations of violence, trauma and gender. Created with the financial support of the Canadian Studies Directorate and the Ministere de culture du Québec. Included here as part of our No Comment project.
Nothing that bad happened to me. Certainly nothing out of the ordinary. I was lucky. I wasn’t raped. I wasn’t sexually assaulted. At most, I was sexually harassed. Cross out at most. I was. And even that is so complex and equivocal and tenuous.
If I had to describe myself at twenty, this is what I would write.
A hyper-verbal, defensive, funny, and skinny skate betty. A poet, thin-skinned and capable, ambitious and in love with the idea of love. A lonely girl from a big family who was open to everything and acutely aware that, at any moment, the next man I met could be the one to change my life.
Before reading this essay about accessing appropriate health and wellness care as a sex worker I’m going to ask you to reflect on your own relationship to othering—perpetuating, witnessing and surviving it—and how it has impacted your health.
I attended the University of British Columbia from 2008-2014. I spent four of those six years in the Creative Writing Department, first to get my Bachelor’s degree, then my Master’s. I was raped twice during my time at UBC, once by one of my classmates in the Creative Writing program.
Our 2015 CNF Contest Honourable Mention.
Mom says she doesn’t know how to twist her tongue in half.
Read the Honourable-Mention Winning Entry From Our 2015 CNF Contest
Any writer can give you an angst-filled list of reasons why writing didn’t happen (again) today: there were the kids. Or a special meeting, or the first sunny day in months, or … Rarely do we mention, “Oh yes, and I was afraid.”
In truth, I’m not a poet. Nor do I, as a rule, pester strangers with chitchat.
The honourable mention entry in Room's 2014 Contest Creative Non-Fiction category.
I learned how to pick locks in prison.
Currently on Newsstands
Room 41.1, Family Secrets
Edited by Rachel Thompson
In this issue:
Jennifer Amos, Fenn Archdekin-Leung, Jenn Ashton, Jamelie Bachaalani, Colleen Baran, Jenny Bartoy, Alexandra Chang, Kristina Corre, Maggie de Vries, Shirley Harshenin, Jia Hwang, Sharon Jinkerson-Brass, Elizabeth Johnston, Tamara Jong, Manal Kamran, Carrianne Leung, Lily Leung, Mary MacDonald, Alissa McArthur, Cosi Nayovitz, Margaret Nowaczyk, Deanna Partridge-David, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Rebekah Rempel.