Editor’s note: a much needed period of reflection

Another year has wrapped up, another semester has ended and another season of giving is upon us.

Before taking the time to appreciate the gifts and the joy doted upon you in the holiday season, make sure you take the time to reflect on all that the universe has served up in this strange, twisted year, 2017.

I remember adamantly referring to 2016 as the year of the loss, where it concluded as  everyone kind of had to collectively take a knee and reflect on the things we were leaving behind.

2017 was, at least seemingly, the rinse of mouthwash that I — that we — needed after 2016.

After losing icons like David Bowie, Prince and Muhammad Ali, we began to ponder what would come next.

It seemed that we had reached an all-time low around fall last-year after a certain individual — who has been accused of sexual assault and sexual harassment by more than 15 women since the 1980’s — was elected to office in the government of one of the world’s superpowers.

If 2016 was a year of stagnation: of loss and of uncertainty, then 2017 was the year the pendulum swung back in the other direction, albeit briefly.

The quickly materializing sexual assault allegations levelled at Harvey Weinstein seemed to open up the floodgates when it came to upending celebrity perverts and flat-out pieces of shit.

Facing similar fates shortly after were the likes of Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey and most recently, Matt Lauer.

While the strides that have been taken forward in Hollywood in the past few months have been immense and progressive, it is still taking some time to see real life results on the ground, in everyday life.

Yes, if you are a celebrity that has been sexually assaulted, it is now more likely that your accuser will face justice or — at the very least, hopefully — public shaming via social media.

The somewhat divisive #MeToo movement also seemed to emerge from the controversy, and despite some hesitation and backlash from survivors not keen on publicizing their own personal traumas to social media, it served as a bit of a wake up call for those who aren’t aware of how pervasive and deeply rooted acts of sexual violence are in our society.

While it’s great to see people get what they deserve, it is important that our focus moving into the new year is on recognizing and addressing the toxic behaviour that goes on around us.

I can only hope that amidst the growing number of materializing cases of sexual assault and abuse of power  survivors feel encouraged and supported to take a stand against their abusers.

I can only hope that in a similar fashion perpetrators of sexual assault recognize that there is no place for them in our society, or anywhere else for that matter.

Collectively, it is now time for us to reflect on the ways we can move forward amidst the growing amount of evidence that supports the claims of survivors.

Now is the time that we start questioning the people making decisions instead of the people fighting for their own safety and security in day to day life interactions.

At the very least, it’s time for observers and witnesses to call those people out.

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