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Wealthy, powerful white men still win the day

October 11th,2023 | Valley Voices

I was distressed to read the contention of David Schubert’s lawyer that his client is “not a criminal” because he has no previous criminal record and is a wealthy 5G engineer (“Attacked released on bail,” Sept. 27 edition). The lawyer also argued that the judge should be lenient because Schubert has two daughters.

My own daughters, one a teen and the other a young adult, hear almost weekly from female peers who have experienced assault multiple times. Their first experience of assault is often at home and by someone they know.

Two years ago the Low Down ran an article covering harassment of girls as young as nine by tween and older teen boys at the Wakefield skate park [“The boys aren’t alright and the girls are sick of it,” April 30, 2021 edition]. The girls described relentless “catcalling and foul language”; boys who made moaning sounds as they walked by; as well as intimidation by older boys pressing them for their Snapchats. The summary of one courageous 11-year-old girl — “They [the boys] don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”

Snapchat aside, did anybody else reading that 2021 story feel like they fell through a portal into 1985? Or 1285? How long must we hear that before we, as parents and grandparents say “No” collectively in ways that actually add up for our children? It’s great that girls can now also play rugby and learn how to do carpentry at school, but what about adding self-defence classes to the curriculum? How is it the Quebec government offers free HPV vaccinations to girls on-site in Grade 4 at school but doesn’t tell them how to navigate sexual harassment on the bus or on the walk to and from school? Or how to de-escalate explosive interactions upstream?

Part of me believes that unless we actively resist, patriarchy makes slaves and commodities of us all; nobody wins in a world where the normative view is that other humans are a means to an end. Everybody has a backstory and a core wound, and the cliché generally holds that hurt people hurt people (and clearly men are also hurting). But reflecting on the many young women we know who have been sexually assaulted, not to mention the intercultural violence we see inflicted on Indigenous women and children, it’s clear that wealthy, powerful white men still tend to win the day.

The ongoing tragedy is that many of them have sons who will follow their lead and daughters who will spend their adult lives trying, at worst, to extricate themselves from abusive relationships or at best to work out where exactly their value lies.

A concerned parent.
Chelsea, QCThe Low Down has agreed to keep the identity of the writer hidden to protect the identity of their children. 

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