Started the year drinking Wild Turkey out of a Starbucks cup in Yonge and Dundas Square – Moved into my apartment #2 in Halifax – Started dating a sweet derby referee – My cat Neils Bohr’s health began to decline and he started to get aggressive – Played the best game of my derby career at Winter Warpath in Moncton, playing on a team with Team Canada’s captain, named unofficial MVP by a skater I’ve always admired – Skated in my first coed scrimmage, told a referee to suck it –
A coffee date with a teammate I didn’t know turned into a beautiful friendship full of angry Scottish slang – Screamed with joy when Richard III’s remains were found – Went to the PC Party of Nova Scotia’s AGM for the free booze, met Peter McKay and then made some really bad and not very conservative decisions – Broke a world record with Bell Aliant on Let’s Talk Day – The SMU Women’s Centre won the decision to have our levy renewed – Spent 10 days in Saint John for my Spring Break – The 6 year anniversary of my Mom passing away – Failed an exam for the first time ever – My cat Neils was put down – Diagnosed with depression –
Got a new calf tattoo – Became co-captain of Las Bandidas Locas – Reached the halfway point of my degree – Accepted to the Forensic Science diploma program – Sustained a head/neck injury in practice that would eventually end my derby season – Diagnosed with anxiety – Had the most amazing and chaotic Saint Patrick’s Day – Was kidnapped and taken as Bria’s date to Masqueerade – Threw a big Easter brunch party – Cooked a giant Easter ham for the first time ever – Went through a shitty breakup –
Finished a month of intense physiotherapy that had me learn to use my shoulders again – Started seeing a rapper – Had to google whether gold teeth were a pirate thing – Watched 30 Rock in its entirity – Started my stint on the SMU Women’s Centre board of directors – Successfully held crow pose for the first time since my first shoulder injuries in 2011 – Did my first radio interview with Nukey on 95.7 to plug HRDA’s home opener –
My new roommate from France moved in – Accepted to crime scene processing field school – Played my game as Bandidas captain, breaking my foot in the process – Went to trivia at the Loose Cannon for the first time, where I’d end up spending countless hours – Went to the first derby wine/cheese party – Took my shirt off at Reflections with my derby sisters and danced ‘til 3 AM – Minnesota senate passes the freedom to marry – Went to an Aidan Knight show and it accidentally turned into a date with an engineer – Was pulled over by a really great Mountie while having a nosebleed all over Denice’s car – Made the Harbour Grudges, HRDA’s all star team – Studied for exams on the patio at the Loose Cannon – Mourned the death of Party, my bff Amanda’s dog – Made really good decisions at The Coast’s 20th anniversary party –
Took Matt Kennedy out for his 19th birthday to Loose Cannon trivia, where he got to ring the bell – Bria moved back to Halifax – Went to Slay of Fundy roller derby regionals in Saint John, where I only skated about 10 jams and had an anxious on-track meltdown that ended my season – Jumped the apex – Went to the first meeting of the Halifax Ladies Beer League – I finally got to ring the bell at the Cannon, after weeks of whining about it – Worked at NSLC for a promotional company slinging a wine called “4 Skins,” losing my dignity in the process – Played in the water at Lawrencetown in the evening, sat in a soaked dress at the Cannon all night –
This morning, the SMU President’s Council that formed after the infamous “rape chant” handed over their findings to the university. While SMU has said they’re committed to putting changes in place in accordance with the guidelines proposed by the Council, there is a whole host of problems with the report. I’m (cautiously) calling the research and report a small victory because there are shreds of merit, but we need to talk about the problematic nature of some of its content.
Responsible Porn Consumption & Education
The report explicitly states: “The Internet and social media are forces for good but also have a much darker side like easy access to pornography.” The problem here lies in the criminalization of porn consumption. The nature of our culture and its reliance on the internet means easy access to pornography, and it isn’t changing any time soon. Like anything else, when society goes through changes the way we educate our youth has to change too. Rather than simply saying that “porn = bad,” make it a point to educate the young people in your life that most porn is not a true representation of the sexual experience. It’s fiction, movie magic. If we take initiatives to educate people about ethical and responsible consumption of porn and the ways in which representations of sexuality are skewed in porn, we have opportunities to talk about consent. There are wise ways to consume porn, but if we aren’t talking about them or are calling them shameful, we miss opportunities to socialize our youth into adults who think critically about the representations of sex they see. Porn will always be easily accessible, so we need to transform the way we talk to our youth about it.
Alcohol Consumption & Victim Blaming
A recurring theme in the report is alcohol consumption. Sure, there may be a problem with excessive alcohol consumption on campuses, but tacking alcohol problems onto a study of sexual assault is so incredibly misguided. The focus of the alcohol-related portions of the study perpetuate the idea that rape is caused by university girls drinking too much: “Women are more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol and are at greater risk of experiencing gender- based violence such as sexual assault when drinking heavily.” Classic victim-blaming. If the university wants to change the nature of alcohol consumption on campus, then they should allocate resources to perform a separate study of it. Alcohol doesn’t cause rape. By framing sexual assault as a by-product of alcohol consumption, the report dodges the idea that maybe, just maybe, the problems on our campuses are actually caused by rapists. Educating young people about drinking responsibly is crucial, but what do we do when our educators are saying that it’s alcohol causing all this rape?
I’m calling the President’s Council out as victim-blaming, misguided, and uninformed. The report isn’t a total trainwreck, but I’m still terribly disappointed, especially considering the council claimed to have feminist voices in their midst. As I continue forming my thoughts, I’ll update.
I hope I’ve encountered you again.
I hope somewhere in the earth’s soil skirts our threads have met
By some terrestrial rustling.
Born back up through some tulip root
Or clung (for dear, reassembled life) to my ankles in the graveyard.
Maybe in some soft matter while I swam
Chest deep over the old cottage stones.
I hope the water found us in the same curious cities.
Or that in dark, distinctive places
You sped off to me as heat
As I warmed my hands
Maybe I’ve inhaled you with lucky lungs
Or you’ve settled as dust
On the shoulders of my chaos
I hope in some entropic act of bliss
I’ve brushed you through my hair
And found you on my skin again