Friday, April 06, 2012


I haven't posted my blog in a couple of weeks. I have been pre-occupied by something very heavy, and when that happens I have to think and experience and just be before I can share, at least in my blog.

A friend in the Vancouver Poetry Slam community recently spoke out about an incident of sexual assault perpetrated by another community member several years ago. A group of leaders responded to support her. What resulted was a movement to change a culture of silence and fear into one of openness and accountability. I was invited to support the effort. It has been a frightening and enlightening experience.

If you want to know more about it, there's a blog. Please be aware that instances of sexual assault are described in some of the blog posts. These are labeled with "Trigger Warning" in their opening paragraphs.

I have learned that my life has been thankfully very safe and sheltered. I have also learned that people who are assaulted most often feel that they can't or shouldn't come forward with their experiences. This is wrong, and needs to be changed.

In the course of the past week, a survivor has stepped forward, a perpetrator has been named, a committee formed to change the way a community responds to issues around safe space. People (me included) have changed their thinking. Other survivors have found the courage to tell their stories. The word is spreading. The blog had over 10 thousand hits the first weekend it went live. I think this is the beginning of awesome changes in our community and good ripples outward.

There is also hurt, fear, guilt, sadness, anger. It's been a heavy week for everyone who is touched by the events that have unfolded. The good part is that we can do something positive with all of this. Things will be better as a result.

Please read the blog, and share it with someone who needs to read it too. Please share it with younger and older people in your life. It's never too late to change, and never too soon to start talking about this with younger members of our families. Safety is something we can all work on together.

question: what does "safe space" mean to you?

mompoet - eyes open, heart full

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