Never cry rape

abuse2Reva Seth and Lucy DeCoutere deserve a medal for their courage in coming forward with their accusations about Jian Ghomeshi. Recent evidence indicates Ghomeshi’s behaviour had been witnessed by many people over the years and for various reasons they chose to remain silent or no action was taken. The ensuing media attention has heightened awareness about the frequency of assaults on women and men and I can only hope that our politicians and law enforcement with the support of citizens in general start to do something to correct the situation.

The number of women, children and men who are abused every day is far higher than anyone imagines. In my own lifetime and within my own circle of friends and acquaintances I know only a few people who have not been sexually abused. The good guys out there find it hard to believe that it’s so rampant and the bad guys have enjoyed decades and centuries of protection by a society that trivializes the incidence and impact of the attacks. Everyone has their own particular reasons for not pursuing legal action to stop their attackers. It could be fear of reprisal, fear of not being taken seriously, lack of emotional stamina needed to see the process through, embarrassment, humiliation or sadly, reversal of blame. Most often, they want to simply put it behind them and hopefully in time the pain will go away. But it does not.

There is absolutely never justification for one human being to hurt another.
There is absolutely never any justification for one human being hurting another.

There is simply no excuse for one human being to hurt another human being under any circumstances. But every second of every day, women, children and men are emotionally and physically abused by relatives, friends, husbands, wives, protectors, acquaintances and strangers. And most victims never report it.  I was recently made aware of a poor immigrant woman who is forced by the manager of the factory where she works to provide sexual services for him every day. If not, he will fire her and she needs the money she earns as her language and job skills are limited. She is also afraid that if her traditional husband finds out, he will blame her and divorce her. She lacks knowledge of and confidence in the Canadian legal system to support her if she reports the abuse. This is not uncommon. Even those of us who were born in Canada and are familiar with the legal processes lack confidence in its ability to provide justice and ensure our protection.

It will be interesting to see how the Jian Ghomeshi story develops. One upside of the controversy is that perhaps it will remind abusers that the tolerance for their behaviours is slowly being eroded. I sincerely hope that our lawmakers and enforcers will undertake a review and implementation of new laws that do not further victimize the victims. The bad guys don’t deserve to get away with their actions and the only way that will happen is to treat the victims with the respect and care they deserve. Violence has no place in anyone’s world, least of all the vulnerable. Reva Seth and Lucy DeCoutere are just two women who said “I’m not going to take it anymore” and they should be commended for their courage. Perhaps this awareness has brought us two steps closer to action.

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BOOMERBROADcast goes live on CBC Radio

What she saidWe’re getting our fifteen minutes of fame this Wednesday, November 12th when I’m being interviewed on Sirius XM Satellite Radio from 10:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.  by Christine Bentley (former newscaster at CTV Toronto) on the morning show calledWhat She Said about my newly-released book, BOOMERBROADcast.

49301906The program is on CBC Talk Radio Channel 167 for Sirius subscribers, but for those who do not subscribe to satellite radio, it will be available on two days later (Friday) at 4:00 p.m. Parts of the interview may also be posted on the show’s YouTube station.

Christine Bentley, Sharon Caddy and Kate Wheeler have been trusted news sources for Canadians for decades. They interview people for information not sensation and they let you know why you should care about the topics of the day. Whether it’s finance, family, health, estate planning, tech or sex, drugs and rock n’ roll there’s no topic that’s off limits for What She Said! Join us at 10 ET on SXM Canada Talks.

Sharon Caddy, Kate Wheeler and Christine Bentley, hosts of What She Said


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A part of Canada still lives in Dieppe

The former theatre has been reopened as a museum commemorating the Canadians who landed in Dieppe in August 1942 and again in June 1944.
The former theatre has been reopened as a museum commemorating the Canadians and other Allied forces who landed in Dieppe in August 1942 and  returned again in June 1944 to liberate the town.

Whenever Canadians hear the word “Dieppe” they are reminded of August 19, 1942, described by the Canadian Veterans’ Association as: “one of the most devastating and bloody chapters in Canadian military history. Of the 4,963 Canadians who embarked from England for the operation, only 2,210 returned, and many of them were wounded. Casualties totaled 3,367, including 916 dead and 1,946 prisoners of war.”

Under the guise of attempting to capture a German Enigma coding machine, the Allied forces consisting mainly of Canadians were launched on to the shores of the German-occupied French seaside town in the early morning hours in a disastrous raid planned by Lord Admiral Louis Mountbatten. Transportation vehicles and equipment bogged down when the small stones on the beach became lodged in the tracks. The Germans were ready and waiting for the Canadians as they crossed the beach on foot and proceeded through a seaside casino and across the promenade into a nearby theatre.

In September of this year, we were part of a group of Canadians visiting sites from both world wars. Our hotel was located directly overlooking the beach where the Canadians landed and next to the theatre where many soldiers were killed or captured on that bloody morning in 1942. We were immediately struck by the display of Canadian flags and memorials erected throughout the downtown area by the French people in recognition of the sacrifice of our young soldiers. The waterside facade of the theatre had been demolished many years ago and the interior remained vacant and abandoned for more than forty years until it was re-opened as a museum dedicated to the memory of those Canadians. Volunteer French citizens have formed a historical society that maintains and operates the museum.

At the 1992 reunion in Dieppe, one Canadian veteran who survived was reunited with the nursing sister who attended to him fifty years earlier.
At the 1992 reunion in Dieppe, one Canadian veteran who survived was reunited with the nursing sister who attended to him fifty years earlier.

Our group was admitted to the museum early in the morning. As we sat on wooden chairs in the centre of the dilapidated theatre, our guide described the day with detailed explanations of the soldiers’ progress and challenges that terrible morning. We were surrounded by displays of original uniforms, equipment and photographs as the events of the day were explained to us. One particular Canadian soldier had been blinded and severely wounded during the raid. When he was taken to hospital to be attended to by a French doctor, he heard a nursing sister ask the doctor to please take care of the Canadian soldier first because he was in great pain. Fifty years later when that same soldier attended a reunion in Dieppe he recognized the nun’s voice as the one who had probably saved his life that day in 1942. At the reunion she was eighty years old and also remembered the soldier.

This graphic depiction of the Canadian maple leaf as a splatter of blood which hung in the entrance struck me as particularly poignant.
This graphic depiction of the Canadian maple leaf as a splatter of blood which hung in the entrance struck me as particularly poignant.

We were deeply touched by the level of respect and attention paid to the recognition of those Canadians in August 1942. We were privileged to have as part of our group, the son of veteran of Dieppe who was one of the few fortunate ones to be evacuated. He was also one of the Canadians who were successful in liberating Dieppe from the Germans two years later in June 1944 and proudly marched through town. We later visited the cemetery where many of the soldiers who died on August 19, 1942 are buried and remain forever at peace.



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Watching the purse wars from the front lines

We're inundated with purses at every price point.
We’re inundated with purses at every price point.

Purses are my Achilles heel. When I retired I was given an exquisite designer purse by my employer which made me far happier than any gold watch ever could have. It is therefore with a great deal of interest that I’ve been following the stock market duke-out between major purse purveyors Coach and Michael Kors. And, ironically it was my husband who brought it to my attention.

Last week I went into a Coach store to purchase a new 2015 refill for the Coach daytimer I bought at their outlet store about ten years ago. Yes. I know I should be doing my time management on an iPhone but I’m just too backward to move forward. While I was in the store I commented to the sales associate that I really liked their new look. No longer emblazoned with their distinctive logo, the cleaner designs better showcase the colourful leathers and styles. Who wants to be a walking advertisement. And this from someone whose retirement purse is awash in the designer’s logo. Anyway, I was then told that the former designer for high-end Mulberry has moved to Coach and is responsible for the new look. Two doors further along in the mall is the Michael Kors store with handbags and accessories in a similar price range and quality but with a few items of clothing and an extensive collection of shoes and boots to up the ante.

How many purses can one person actually use, or find closet space for.
How many purses can one person actually use, or find closet space for.

Let’s face it Boomer broads. We love purses, shoes and accessories but the marketing of many brands is getting totally out of hand and we only have so much money to throw at them. Much as we would love to have enough money to purchase each season’s newest look, it ain’t gonna happen.  And with only a fifteen percent return on the original retail price at consignment stores, we’re tempted to just hang on to them. Outlet malls sell slightly downmarket versions of their products and the major department stores are putting them on sale to get rid of  inventory. Designers have been on a frantic expansion binge and mid-range designer purses are now so ubiquitous they’ve lost some of their cachet, and the greedy manufacturers and retailers have no one to blame but themselves.

Maybe the manufacturers and retailers are now starting to get the message. Coach stock prices have dropped forty percent and Michael Kors is busy remerchandising to avoid a similar fate. Kate Spade is pulling ahead in the race for profits but will that brand make the same mistakes as her competitors? It’s going to be interesting watching the battle from the sidelines. If you’re in the market for a good quality handbag, the department stores have some great deals and it pays to shop around.  The bottom line is, now is probably not a good time to put stock in purses. They are, after all, designed to keep your money in not spend your money on. The challenge now is to take my own advice.



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