Last Jan. 21, women across the globe gathered in the streets and marched through cities, towns and villages to protest the inauguration of American President Donald Trump.
For the first time ever, women asked men to sit down and listen because now, they were talking.
In the days, weeks and months leading up to this year’s march, women have talked about the Berry sisters, just six and four when they were killed three weeks ago in our own city, and Euar Wanichpan, whose body was found in a shallow grave in Topaz Park last August.
They talked about real estate agent Lindsay Buziak, killed in Victoria in 2008 while doing her job; or Sunny Park, killed with her parents and son in her Oak Bay home in 2007 by her husband.
They talked about the statistics – one in three Canadian women has experienced violence in their adult lives, every six days a woman in Canada is killed by her partner and Indigenous women are six times more likely to find themselves in these stats. Violence against women costs the Canadian health care system almost $1.5 billion a year.
And in Victoria, the number of reported incidents of violence against women is higher than the national average.
Women talked about how the justice system in Canada continues to fail women, as evidenced by the Jian Ghomeshi trial or the Alberta judge who asked a 19-year-old survivor of sexual assault why she couldn’t have just kept her knees closed.
They talked about the lawsuits filed against the RCMP and the Department of National Defence for sexual misconduct, or Unfounded, the Globe and Mail’s Robyn Doolittle-led investigation into how Canadian police forces handle sexual assault cases. Spoiler alert – not well.
It turned out, women had a lot to say. They said #MeToo, they said #TimesUp, they said not anymore.
Last year, we thought we’d seen it all, been through the worst of it and were marching in a new female-led direction. This year it seems there is more ammunition in the arsenal as women continue down the battlefield.