The only thing worse than one gender telling another gender what they are is–seriously, must I finish this sentence? In this day and age, yes, apparently I must object to a woman telling me what it’s like to be a woman.
I’m not “second-class”. I’m not “doomed”. Hilla Kerner of the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter tells us women are both these things. I reject her definition; I’ve always rejected it and will always reject it. We have to get over the idea that women are weak and unequipped to live in society. Our lack of Y chromosome does not define who we can be, where we can go or what we can do.
We have human rights. One of those rights is to be something other than a victim.
Because I’m not second-class, I would like to suggest that allowing someone else the same rights I have will not take away any of my rights. I can share. I can be compassionate and attempt to empathise with someone who might have had a slightly different experience from mine. To me, the basic shared experience is more important than the gender of the person who experienced it. (Actually, I can’t think of any social situation where the other person’s gender would be relevant at all.)
If we’re ever going to do something about sexual violence, we have to get over this ridiculous head-in-the-sand, hetero-normative approach to it.
Women rape women.
Women rape men.
Transgendered people are raped.
Non-binary people are raped.
By asserting that only men rape women, the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter is offering to kiss the boo-boo better while ignoring the blood surging from the artery. Though I haven’t been there, this shelter does not seem like a very safe place at all.
Passing Bill C-16 is a good start to sexual safety for everyone.