I was so happy to read about students standing up against rape culture at our high school.
As a rape victim myself, I know the courage that it takes to share your story. It took a lot of counselling and a kind and gentle husband to break through the shame and lack of value that I felt from my trauma.
I know the contrast between sex being something that is taken by force for personal gratification and something that is given with love and respect. We need to teach our youth to value others and honour sexuality as a powerful gift to be used with care. This is a vastly different message from what is seen in pornography, where violence is rampant and women are objectified.
I celebrate the idea of restorative justice and wish that had been an option somehow for the teen who assaulted me. The act harms the perpetrator as well as the victim, and without effective intervention, can lead to a trajectory of greater violence and assault. The teen who hurt me went on to commit more violent rape and murder as an adult and is now spending a few decades in jail.
As a mom of a three-year-old daughter, I look forward to and hope for the culture to be different when she goes to high school, and much sooner than that.
Melody Li, New Westminster