Content warning: sexual assault, rape and violence against women, femmes and non-binary people.
In light of the grotesque sexual assault and abuse stories from numerous women in Hollywood, Harvey Weinstein is a symbol of the fundamental all-powerful white male assailant. Co-founder of Miramax Films and the Weinstein Company, Weinstein stands among the elite men’s club of one of the most dominant industries in the world and has at least 39 allegations of sexual harassment, assault and rape against him. The total number of allegations is currently unknown, as women continue to come forward on a daily basis since the publishing of a New York Times article on Oct. 5 that brought mainstream attention to his long history of enacting sexual violence. Among the victims are Hollywood’s most famous: Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rose McGowan. There are 37 (and counting) other names of victims whose stories will not receive as much attention as theirs. And then, there is us.
The vast majority of women will never know justice for the violence that has been perpetrated against them. There are women of colour who are grossly fetishized and have been historically forced into labour camps to be comfort women for the imperialist state. There are non-binary people, trans women and femmes of all bodies that face greater intersectional gender-based violence like transmisogyny. Gender-based violence is systemic and falls heavily on the feminine and genderqueer spectrum. It is pertinent that conversations on sexual assault must be intersectional to include other systems of violence that are built to uphold each other: racism, imperialism, white supremacy and colonialism.
Violence against women, femmes and non-binary people is not unique to cities, certain industries or certain bodies. It is everywhere. It is here in Sackville, where a false image of idyllic rural blindness shades our perspective of how triggering it can be for women, femmes and non-binary people to walk down its unlit streets or how the university-regulated bar has had a recent history of tainted drinks. Do not be fooled by the quaint ivy-covered brick buildings and salt-washed boardwalks. This place has seen the same violence as anywhere else. It was Sackville where I came home to my apartment at three in the morning to the door ajar and an unfamiliar man inside. It was Sackville where I was followed home in broad daylight by two men in a slowly moving car, taunting me out their window.
Trauma does not have to be recounted to deserve attention. Our voices should be enough. To the men reading this, you must do better. Believe us. Do your part and act on this violence. Interrupt the norms of the patriarchy that embody toxic masculinity and racism. Be a feminist killjoy.