Thursday, March 24, 2016

#IbelieveSurvivors

Today a judge found Jian Ghomeshi - former radio host of the once popular CBC show 'Q' - not guilty on one count of choking and four counts of sexual assault.

I, like many others, am saddened by the news. 

This isn't a commentary on the legalities of the case or even my way of saying the judge was wrong. My knowledge of our legal system is unfortunately fairly limited so I can't really properly argue against any of the court proceedings or findings. 

I will, however, comment on what many people are talking about: believing survivors of sexual assault. 

I am very, very fortunate in that I have never experienced sexual assault firsthand. There have been times I have felt unsafe, in situations like simply being a woman walking home alone at night. I was even followed once. I've endured unsolicited cat-calls and come-ons and been called names for shutting them down.

But I am fortunate. 

I've watched a friend have a drink roofied (thankfully she was with a large group and got home safely), and have heartbreakingly had a friend confide that she was sexual assaulted.

But I am fortunate. 

Several years ago, I was sexually harassed by a coworker. 
I wasn't really even able to process it as such until a few days later. 
He was an overweight guy who often asked for my nursing expertise (I was in school at the time and always showing up to work with giant textbooks) with health topics like exercise and nutrition. It wasn't unusual for me to get a text from him asking for some healthy recipes. 
One night, after a few questions about health matters, he asked if I ever masturbated. 
I wasn't sure how to answer but chalked it up to it being another health related question, albeit not a comfortable one. I told him everyone did and it was normal. 
Then he asked how tight I was. 
I was taken aback and didn't know how to respond. 
I laughed it off, thinking it might have been a joke. 
He apologized for offending me and I shut the conversation down.

I told another coworker the next day and his response was to also laugh it off. His response was essentially, "that's hilarious. You're not actually mad are you? He's harmless. Poor guy, he doesn't know how to talk to girls. We should help him".

Here's why I'm fortunate: I told my husband (who was my fiance at the time) and he flipped out. And not in a possessive 'you-can't-speak-to-my-woman' kind of way. He didn't laugh it off, and he didn't downplay how angry, upset, and embarrassed I was. He was angry that someone would disrespect me by asking such a vulgar, inappropriate question. 
Despite my protesting, he actually phoned the guy up and read him the riot act. 

Here's why I'm fortunate: I have parents and a sister who were similarly outraged and encouraged me to speak up. They never for a second laughed it off. 

Here's why I'm fortunate: I had another coworker that I confided in who took a similar stance. He didn't laugh, he didn't sympathize with the guy, he didn't discount my anger and embarrassment. Instead, he let me know that this guy had done similar things to other female coworkers. He encouraged me to report him to our supervisors and told me that he would encourage the other young women to do the same. 

Why did I laugh it off at first? Why wasn't I completely outraged until a day or so later? I didn't tell anyone right away because I was so embarrassed that I opted to just pretend like it never happened. I consider myself a strong feminist, but sadly I even questioned whether I was partially to blame. Had I led him on by not ending the conversation sooner?

When I did tell people, I got mixed reviews. When I told my supervisors at work, they held a formal meeting. I had to repeat the extent of the conversation and felt uncomfortable having to say the question he asked me out loud. I was afraid that they would think I had invited the question by not ending the conversation when he asked about masturbation. They eventually handed down disciplinary action: he was suspended for a short period and then wouldn't be allowed to work any shifts when management was not there. A slap on the wrist, really. 

Here's why I'm fortunate: When I wasn't sure how to react, I had supports that believed me, that didn't dismiss my emotions, that never once let me feel I was in any way to blame. 

While I don't feel right comparing my situation to those of the brave women who spoke out against Jian Ghomeshi, I can understand why they might not have wanted to. 

Maybe their initial reaction to the assault wasn't what we'd expect it to be. Maybe they weren't initially outraged. Maybe they laughed it off, in an effort to pretend it wasn't happening. 

Maybe they didn't tell anyone right away because they were afraid that the people they confided in would laugh it off, or say that poor Jian was harmless, or worst of all, maybe no one would believe them. 

Maybe they were afraid that they would have to relive the event, speak the words out loud again, and have people blame them and shame them for baiting him or leading him on. 

Maybe they were afraid that after all of it, after coming to terms with their own emotions, after confiding in friends who didn't believe them or who sympathized with their assaulter, after having to publicly relive the events and risk being shamed and judged, maybe after all of that they were afraid that he would walk away with nothing more than a slap on the wrist.  

The outcome of the trial is not what many of us wanted. But we're talking about it. My Facebook feed today was filled with angry men and women demanding justice for survivors of sexual assault. 

Let's continue to talk about the culture of rape that exists in our society. Let's continue to talk about how often sexual assualts happen and the staggering statistics of how infrequently they are reported. Let's continue to talk about why that is. Let's not dismiss, blame, or shame someone when they have the courage to talk about sexual assault. 

Someday perhaps we will finally unanimously recognize these individuals as brave for coming forward. Someday perhaps we can ensure that offenders of sexual harassment and assaults don't walk away with mere slaps on the wrist. Someday survivors of sexual assault won't need reassurance that we believe them.

But until then, 

#Ibelievesurvivors


Friday, September 25, 2015

What I've Been Up To ...

Long time no post!

In my defence, it isn't always easy to find time to sit down and write - let alone actually do stuff worth writing about - when you have a busy infant. 

But as busy as I am, life is amazing. Evelyn is just the best and I feel so privileged to get to watch her grow everyday. 

She is days away from 9 months and crawling, cruising on furniture, and just this Wednesday she took her first few solo steps. 

I swear I blinked and my baby turned into a kid. 

I am so in love with and so in awe of her. 

The other reason I've been away is because I've started a collaborative blog with my friend Kayla! 
It's all things lifestyle so you can expect a nice mix of recipes, fashion, parenting, DIY projects, travel, and more. 
While I definitely tend to be a lone wolf on a lot of things (I'm certainly introverted but may also have some control issues...), I have to admit that it is really fun working on a blog with another person. Having someone else's opinion and take on topics is wonderful and the collaboration means I don't have to stress about posting something every few days. We share the load (if you didn't say that like Samwise Gamgee then I'm disappointed).

Check out my other blog here
I'll try to keep posting here as well but it will likely be less often than over at birch & bubbly. 


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tuesday's Child : 27 & 28 Weeks catch up!

I missed last week as we were in Chicago so I've doubled up this week.
Check it all out here
And hopefully soon I can get a Chicago recap up!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tuesday's Child : 26 weeks (6 months!)

My little doodle-bug is half a year! Where did those 6 months go?
Read all about what she's been up to here (plus check out her adorable 6 month picture. So begin the sitting pictures because it's impossible to get her to lay on her back anymore).

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Gluten Free Brownies, or, baking with coconut flour

Guess what I did?
I baked!
two items!

I've been invited to a baking party next weekend and since two of my friends are gluten intolerant, the challenge is to find a gluten free recipe.

I've baked with rice flour before and wasn't particularly wowed by it, but I pretty much substituted it exactly for regular flour which you can't always do.

I debated buying the gluten free all purpose flour but decided to be more adventurous and instead I bought coconut flour to experiment with.
Turns out you have to make a few adjustments to your recipe when using coconut flour as it tends to be more absorbent than your standard all purpose flour.

After scouring Pinterest, my first experimental recipe was for a lemon loaf. 
It sucked.
It tasted too eggy, which was no surprise considering it called for 6 eggs. 

I tried again.

Brownies.
A big winner.

There's a nice hint of coconut (there would have been more if I had used coconut oil and coconut milk as the recipe calls for) so if you like the taste of coconut, grab some flour and give this recipe a whirl.




  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a brownie pan with parchment paper.
  • Over medium heat, combine 1/3 cup coconut oil1/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup honey until melted. In a heat-proof bowl, add 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Pour oil & butter over chocolate and allow chocolate to begin to melt, then stir until combined. 
  • Add in 1/2 cup coconut milk1 tsp vanilla, and 2 eggs
  • In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 cup coconut flour1 tbsp cocoa powder1/4 tsp baking soda, and 1/4 tsp salt. Mix into wet ingredients with a whisk to get rid of lumps.
  • Pour into brownie pan and bake for 25 minutes.  


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tuesday's Child : 25 Weeks

One day I'll do something worth blogging about again. 
One day.

In related exciting news though - keep an eye out for a new collaborative blog hopefully coming in the near future that a friend of mine has proposed! 
It will be all things lifestyle related - recipes, DIY projects, home renos, style, you name it, we're hoping to blog about it!

In the meantime, my kiddo slept overnight in her crib for the first time last night and it was bittersweet. 
Read all about it here :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tuesday's Child : 23 Weeks

It's Tuesday!
Kiddo is asleep on the couch beside me. 
I blogged!
Read all about it here