Women’s History month

Oct. 3, 2019

Since 1992, October has been known as Women’s History month.  This year’s theme is #MakeAnImpact.  There have been so many strong women in Canada’s history in all areas and spheres of influence.  This year I think about the recent #MeToo movement and the brief media blitz and public outcry over the abuse of women.  I then match it with our struggle to try to achieve Domestic Violence leave in our collective agreements or at least in our labour codes.  In my research, which led to some very dark places I found a light, her name is Attiya Khan, a Canadian film maker who after 20 years, confronts her abuser on camera.

I viewed the trailer then watched this documentary that brings life to the silent vernacular of North America. “A Better Man” was able to give voice to a victim and surprisingly help to the abuser.  It is slow and painful, the messages are so hard to hear, yet we must talk about domestic violence.  The dark sides of humanity require the silence and shadows to exist.  Ms. Khan used the film to heal herself and shine a light in that darkness.  She was just 16 years old when she met Steve, two years of abuse followed where people drew their curtains when she ran down the street, screaming for help.  No one helped her…society was saying, you are not worthy.  Few abused women have strong self-esteems and when the abuse happens so young, it’s a wonder she survived.  The fact that she is here today to tell her story and is successful speaks to her quiet inner strength.

Attiya Khan’s story has embodied this year’s theme, #MakeAnImpact. She is a professional advocate for women who said, “…I can’t handle the intolerably high prevalence of domestic violence…”.  Attiya is now 25 years free of her abuser, 17 years advocating for women and 2 years post film making and I hope free from the weight she has carried all these years.  Let’s help women like Attiya and fight for domestic violence leave.

 

Kelly Bush

National Vice-President - Equity