Bare With Us

By Alysha Brilla

Photo courtesy of The Record, Annie Sakkab.

"I want to start by acknowledging that we are on first nations land and give thanks to the earth for providing beautiful life to us everyday. I also want to acknowledge that August 1st, emancipation day, commemorates the slavery abolition act.

I also want us to recognize that we all participate in systems of privilege and oppression. I believe that as ever evolving conscious beings, it is our job to strive towards acknowledging these flawed systems and working on creating harmony in our humanity. Thank you to everyone who recognizes these intersections and are working daily on addressing the little ways in which each moment, for better or worse, we are affecting and changing the world.

This is about much more than women's autonomy legally and socially over how we dress.

This is about the chronic and epidemic oppression and violence women face every single day, across this planet. 

This is about the blame women are given when this violence happens to us because we were 'dressing immodestly' or 'asking for it'.

This is about the fallacy of ascribing the value of women to the percentage of fabric material covering her body.

This is about a culture where women are being told that our bodies illicit harassment, instead of putting the onus on the person doing the harassing. 

No human being, regardless of gender our outward presentation, should be subject to harassment, violence or assault.

This violence is internalized.

This oppression has a long history.

It has diseased societies for far too long.

It's symptoms are not always easily identifiable, but because of history and this internalization, we see it come out in the different way women and men are paid for doing the exact same work, the high rates of domestic violence against women and a lack of representation by women's voices in everything from leadership, to education and justice.

On the surface, Kitchener-Waterloo is a beautiful place to live.

However, women in Kitchener-Waterloo are making only 66% of what our male counterparts make and we have one of the highest rates of domestic violence against women in Canada.

On the evening of July 24th, my sisters and I were on a peaceful bike ride. We were stopped and bothered and lied to by an officer for doing what Gwen Jacob bravely fought for equality on 25 years earlier.

Now we are receiving very many comments and messages saying that we should have violent things done to our bodies. I'm not talking one or two messages or comments. I'm talking hundreds.

Why are the peaceful and autonomous actions of women met with such violent reactions? ***

What does this say about our society? What does this say about the changes we need to make today, right now?

Yes there are many important issues to be discussed in the world right now, but if one half of the world's population is unable to voice themselves and have equal input into how this world is operating, how can we begin to expect peace on earth, in our societies, in our communities and in our homes?

This is about women being able to wear as much or as little clothing as their male counterparts are able to, without being shamed or harassed.

This is about unlearning to objectify and hyper sexualize women’s

This is about replacing the violence directed towards women with peace for everybody.

This is about every human having access to the same rights and humanity, regardless of their gender."

Alysha Brilla- Bare With Us Rally- August 1st, 2015

Photos by Candance Cobbing, 570 News.


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