Today I rose in the house to say: “Me too.”
I rise today, Honourable Speaker, to say, Me too.
Women have been sharing their stories, and shining a light on the shocking prevalence of sexual harassment and violence in our society.
The stories have been heart-wrenching and painful; the story-tellers brave and heroic.
Yesterday, we commemorated Persons Day in this House – remembering that 88 years ago, women were recognized as “persons” under the law in Canada, and given the right to be appointed to the Senate.
But law, and reality, can sometimes be divorced. Yes – we as women can and do hold public offices in this country. But that does not mean that we are not subject to sexism, harassment, or bullying in our workplaces, our homes, our communities.
What #MeToo shows us is that the work is far from over.
Equality is not achieved just through legal decisions or legislation. Equality is not achieved by women feeling empowered and safe enough to speak out.
Equality will be achieved when we all recognize our shared responsibility to create a world where these stories are not the norm. When all members of our society, especially those who do not have a Me Too story, understand that if we do nothing, we are complicit in a culture that has made these horrific stories an all too common shared experience.
To do so will take more than the usual responses to sexual violence.
We must look deeply at what it is in our society that has permitted this situation that so many women face, where they are not treated as persons, but as objects.
And we must not be afraid to make changes so that we can build a better world where #MeToo is not the norm.