“The lights go out all around me, one last candle to keep out the night
Then the darkness surrounds me….” - Beauty from Ashes by Superchicks
I woke up with these lines from this song in my head. I went to bed last night thinking about the recent decision by the Supreme Court of Canada to strike down our prostitution laws. It feels like darkness in our country has just gotten a little bigger.
Marie works with a small organization that helps women exit the sex trade in our city. We’re friends and we talked yesterday. The atmosphere at their small office was far from the elation shown on TV by the three women who brought this matter to the court. Marie said she had never seen such sadness and despair. Women’s tempers were short. It’s easy to be overwhelmed, to wonder what the point is, to feel like we can’t make any difference.
How is it that the two sides of this issue say that we are fighting for the same thing? The safety and protection of women, their right to be treated with dignity as citizens of Canada…to me, there is nothing progressive about declaring that it is all right to buy a person in our country, especially when we know that it opens the door for greater human trafficking. I just don’t see how that is treating them with dignity.
The court noted that though some prostitutes freely choose to engage in prostitution, many have no meaningful choice but to do so. We know that the numbers support this claim; only about 8 percent of women in the sex trade say that they are there because they want to be.
I’m going to fight for the other 92 percent…the ones that don’t have a choice. The ones who say they don’t feel like a true citizen of Canada, much less a human being, because circumstances in their lives have forced them into selling their bodies for someone else’s pleasure. I want to speak up for those ones.
Despite the feeling like the darkness got bigger, a candle is still burning in the night.
We’ve been given a year; a year to influence the government, a year to rally our cry and let it be heard loud and clear, a year to speak up like we have never spoken before for the women and children’s voices who are silent in this debate, the women who are forced physically or through life circumstances into this way of life.
I’m just a working mom, busy with the cares of life. Not particularly politically minded, never been to a protest in my life.
But I have been given a candle – my own…this little light of mine – of my life, my choices, my time, my voice – and I am going to let it shine in the dark of this debate of how we are going to treat women in our country. I’m not going to let Marie down. She is on the front lines, and she needs my candle to help hers burn more brightly.
Will you join me?
I believe in hope. I believe in many little candles shining together and pushing back darkness.
- Guest blog submission by Lori, an average mom of 4 kids who will be exploring the realities of sexual exploitation with Defend Dignity in the coming months.