When I was young physics was described as “too hard” for girls and at the time I let this notion go as it meant more time for languages and writing. As an adult however I discovered quantum physics and the important concept of a “quantum shift”, or quantum jump. This, I thought, is what we are after. A gigantic shift in how we are treated as women, not to wait centuries for change. A way to create a quantum shift. It was a dream.
Definition:A dramatic advance, especially in knowledge or method…a sudden change from one energy state to another…or, any sudden and significant change, advance, or increase.
Discovering WorldPulse created new hope for me. Through every call to action, every detail we report, every one of our discussions, every one of our actions we are creating that Shift. The discussions within our own countries are such webs of connection. Our news sent to each other internationally keeps us informed. We have an unbreakable network, alive and growing as long as we continue to speak about, acknowledge, insist upon what is happening and what needs to change everywhere.
Our numbers have grown from the 25,000 not long ago to the 60,000-70,000 we are now. Many of us have deep and lasting friendships, bonds of true love and gratitude for the work each other are doing. We are able now through our connections to counter the messages that “things will never change” with real news of change that WorldPulse members are creating in 190 countries.
Last winter we felt this Shift as we once again Oranged the world in November, held up our signs in the millions in January, and we did it again this year in numbers never experienced before. We feel it as 1 Billion Rising dance through February 14. We felt it last March as WorldPulse gathered photos and published them for everyone to see how global, how extensive our movement has become. All of this, and all of the work being done everywhere to bring forward stories of women and girls has brought us to today, recently with #MeToo, #HerToo and Time’sUp.
But I have never witnessed before the speed at which things are moving in my country right now. Over the past few days I have been unable to take my eyes and ears off the news, as women continue here to describe stories of sexual assaults in work places. They are given prime time, extensive news coverage, and men are being fired for their behaviour. Alongside the Federal and Provincial male politicians being told to leave, so are men in the arts, in news, in business. South of us in the USA a woman judge gave time and space in her court for more than 150 young women athletes to tell their stories of sexual abuse by a doctor, and she sentenced him to life in prison. The difference this time is that women are being believed and the harm taken seriously.
There is still the outcry that men are losing jobs without being heard in court. But it is well known that for years now only 3% of women who even try for conviction in court are successful. It is also sometimes true that the answer is not a jail sentence, but completely appropriate that he loses his job. If a person comes in late to his job as a habit, it is cause for dismissal. If a man has been sexually or otherwise harassing women at work, that should be reason for dismissal. Finally, it is happening. Work places are becoming safe rather than depending on the whispered warnings between women to “watch out not to be alone with” men in powerful positions, or being warned not to speak out if she wants to keep her job.
It is not an easy or smooth time for women coming forward here, or anywhere. Just this morning news is travelling about threats being made to women who have spoken out against these politicians, one who is now afraid to be alone, and who already wishes she had stayed silent. The protection of women speaking out is paramount, and action against those making threats needs to be swift. The Canadian Government is drafting new regulations against harassment in the workplace. But for women speaking out who are in danger, protection needs to be a priority. This same mix of courage and danger we know is taking place globally.
One of the biggest positive differences here is that there has been a significant shift in the consciousness of men in Canada, partly through #beenrapedneverreported and #MeToo, mostly from the vast number of women now speaking out everywhere. Men are coming forward to say that they now see this differently. Men are speaking out against other men abusing women. They are listening closely, believing us, and committing to step forward when they hear other men resist, and when they hear of other men excusing or committing sexual violence. They are committing to work with boys to create a different culture, one in which violence is not acceptable, one in which boys as well as girls are free. This is new in its magnitude, a magnitude I have never experienced this in my lifetime.
I hope that the Shift so strongly felt here these days reverberates around the world. I hope that the men newly joining us here in Canada will learn from the men who have been speaking out, will learn about the men on motorcycles zooming through India with Urmila, will realize that there are many men here within WorldPulse who understood a long time ago the importance of their working with us.
In some ways we now are moving at lightning speed, and we are charged with keeping the momentum and ensuring the safety of those speaking out. We know that lives are at stake. Now that we are in a new level of being believed and listened to, let’s continue to expand this until it is true for everyone, and in all of the ways necessary for this world we love, for the people that we love, for this world we envision, with an end to corruption, to poverty, to ruination of our earth and waters, to all violence. This shift into the freeing of women and the rebalancing of leadership by women is what is needed. It is through all of our work within WorldPulse that I hold tremendous hope.