In light of recent events I've been thinking a lot about how life is different for women owing to the quiet but ever present concern for our physical safety. I've decided to tweet this thread because because I believe there is still a serious lack of awareness. Here we go.
I do not live in fear, but I am always aware. I'm aware of who is around me. Who is behind me. Where the dark corners are that I can't see into. Whether those footsteps behind me are picking up. I hate wearing a hood in the winter because I can't see who is close.
Like all of my female friends, I have walked with my keys between my fingers on the way to my car or home, hidden in my pocket in the winter. I get uncomfortable with earbuds in when it's dark and I'm out walking because I want to know when someone is close.
I have crossed the street when I see someone coming toward me at night and there's nobody else around. I have used the track measure on Uber rides home when uncomfortable attempts to flirt cross a line.
When I walk to my car, I scan the street, parking lot or garage. I am looking at tires and backseats without even thinking about it. I don't park next to vans or SUVs with tinted windows. I'm sure this sounds paranoid, but women are taught this from a young age for a reason.
Women journalists also run into issues with source management - understanding that this is work, not drinks leading somewhere else. Meeting male sources alone is something else you learn to do safely although it's rarely taught.
I had a man try to follow me home from work while I was walking and he as in his SUV. He demanded I have a drink with him. Wouldn't leave me alone. I called the police the dispatcher told me asking a woman on a date is not illegal. Thankfully OPS officers took a different view.
I was lucky on this - I have a lot of contact with the police and know where to go. Many others would not have been so fortunate. This was only a couple of years ago. When I'm literally running from a man following me in a vehicle, something is wrong.
I have subconsciously kept 6 feet between me and people who I don't know (and sometimes those who I do know too) long before the pandemic. I know what can happen if you don't. I don't think guys think about this quite the same way.
It's not just me. It is every, single woman I know. My mother, my aunts, my cousins, my friends, my colleagues. I have yet to find a single woman who does not do these same things, has not been taught the same things or isn't watchful owing to personal experience.
We don't talk about it because it is literally a part of our every day life that we've been doing since we were young girls and teenagers. We are used to it. We shouldn't have to be.
I have significant privilege and cannot imagine how much worse it must be for many other women. My advantages: hostile environment training for Afghanistan & Niger. CANSOFCOM friends who have gone out of their way to spend time doing physical self defence & situational awareness.
One last one that stuck with me. In Afghanistan the NCO next to me in a LAV asked me if anyone had talked to me about personal safety. I assumed he meant IEDs since we were on the road. He said no, KAF, there are a lot of sexual assaults, please don't walk alone at night.

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More from @MercedesGlobal

29 Apr
In 2016 I started reporting how the chain of command and military justice system let down victims, and allowed perpetrators to avoid criminal charges, plead out or be protected at work. It's 2021. We are still having the same conversations like the 2016/17 stuff never happened
When I first started reporting I got angry calls from the highest levels of the Canadian Armed Forces telling me I was "hurting" the troops and the institution.
Will put together another spread sheet - the ideal Gen Vance told me he had when he created the admin system to deal with sexual misconduct was to fill the gaps where the military justice system wasn't working and that he couldn't change (JAG reports to political authorities)
Read 7 tweets
27 Apr
PM Trudeau says that nobody in his office or the Defence Minister's office knew that the complaint against General Vance was "a Me Too" complaint. On Friday Elder Marques, formerly of PMO, testified he felt it was likely sexual and serious (but did not have solid knowledge).
PM Trudeau gives extensive answer, says the govt is deeply committed to change on this issue. Defends how his office and MND's office handled the issue. PM Trudeau does not answer the question from @mikelecouteur on whether his Chief of Staff, Katie Telford, should have told him.
Mike follows up asking how disappointed the PM is that he did not learn about this concern until this year. "Katie's leadership... is why we call ourselves a feminist govt" re: Katie Telford.
Read 5 tweets
23 Apr
Elder Marques, former senior advisor to Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau is now testifying about what he knew about the allegations against Vance in 2018
@JustinTrudeau #BREAKING Elder Marques just revealed the Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, Katie Telford, was aware there were allegations against General Jonathan Vance
Marques says he has no recollection of briefing the Prime Minister on the allegations against Vance or knowledge of anyone else briefing the Prime Minister.
Read 6 tweets
20 Apr
I asked PM Trudeau and DPM Trudeau about Liberal MPs shutting down the committee that was looking into military sexual misconduct and about the message that sends... as well as why 10+ weeks into this story we don't have any info on the external probe or watchdog (1/3) #cdnpoli
The federal budget set aside $ to deal with military sexual misconduct including setting up an independent watchdog (no info on if it reports to Parliament), providing independent legal advice to victims and making the JAG system to "better respond to allegations of misconduct"
PM and DPM gave no specifics on what the probe will involve, when it might be announced, or a timeline for action. Said committee acted independently. Reiterated commitment to action and need for change but no details on what that looks like or when.
Read 4 tweets
8 Apr
Global News did not ask DND for permission for women to speak. We asked the women.
Unclear to me how CFNIS & JAG would have been consulted abt 3 cases where there was *no* investigation prior to our reporting, they learned about allegations from our show
cbc.ca/news/politics/…
Several women we spoke to also made it clear they did not trust CFNIS and JAG in handling sexual misconduct cases. There is an irony that they should be the deciding authority on whether women get to come forward...
Also worth discussing - CFNIS and the JAG's record on handling sexual misconduct and sexual assault. The concern about plea bargains, dropped charged etc led to the administrative changes Vance introduced to kick people out.
Read 4 tweets
6 Apr
Former Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick admits that PCO lost sight of the questions about allegations against Vance. They were looking at massive turn over at the upper ranks of the military and Vance's "ambition" to become top NATO General.
Wernick says PCO never closed file looking into allegations against Vance but reached "an impasse" determining it would be inappropriate to confront Vance, there were not witnesses (although they hadn't interviewed anybody to determine this) and victim didn't want to come forward
Wernick says in hindsight more could have been done and he regrets that this issue fell off the radar. He says that Minister Sajjan was in fact involved in discussions about Vance's term, that Wernick and Sajjan had those conversations.
Read 5 tweets

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