Having Read "She Said" by Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey

It’s easy to get me riled up: just a headline will do it. So as someone prone to quick anger, and moreso disheartened by every headline passing her screen, I just couldn’t help but be drawn in by the begrudgingly difficult and careful drama of truth-telling put forth between the pages of She Said: a heartfelt and frustrating account of not only #MeToo and the Weinstein cases, but of the prospect of journalism in an age becoming more and more defined by easy misinformation.

I can speak uncritically of my personal bias in attaching myself between the pages of this work. As both a writer and victim of sexual harassment, I felt with Twohey and Kantor as they delivered a characterization of just what it takes to fight and write about something as ethereal and silent as behind-the-doors Sexual Assault.

If you’ve experienced some such assault, you know the weight it holds.

In that way, the work itself is extremely challenging. As a reader, I felt the same frustrations and fears of the authors, as well as those they met in the course of their research. There was absolutely a small amount of book-throwing. Huffing. Walking away and feeling that anger rise up.

Always though, I was drawn back. I wanted vengeance! But in the end, and I’m grateful for it, Kantor and Twohey left me with something a little more than that. Through the trials and tribulations of good journalism, of truth-finding and critical diligence, of having to be that person, they reinvigorated and helped me reaffirm my original sense of what uncovering the truth can mean in the real world. And of course I’m saying this, but in the world of “fake news” making headlines, it was a heck of a relief to sit down and read something written so sensibly. There’s no baiting, pandering, or bullshit–in fact, the framework through which the authors bring us this so-called adventure mystery is progressive and comprehensive, shining light on the lengths that dedicated actors play in looking forward into the possible worlds of what happens when powerful people are not held accountable–and then doing something about it.

The whole “cast” of characters (if I can call them that) also made the work a place where the secrets I hold close became known, even if remotely. Certainly, there’s a theme throughout of coming forward together. And in continuing to read, I could feel myself become just a little bit less alone. I was stronger. A little bit less angry, and a little more determined as well. What was once rumour had become substantiated. I got–for all the cliche of it–the real story as it was unfolding, and it gave me a sense of power. Conviction. And if I’m being honest, validation. I can take ownership of the things that happened to me instead of allowing them to prey on my soul and weigh me down when there’s so much more I could attach myself to.

Now, of course, I’m writing this feeling strong. I’m on sort of a high from just finishing the book, thankfully borrowed from my dearest friend, and knowing I have to talk about it before it all goes away–as it’s bound to, in the coming days of angry headlines. Still, I am hoping and believing that this feeling of empowerment gained will stay with me for a little while, as I tackle my headline addiction and delve deeper into the complicated meat of the big problems I’m so prone to ignore. (You know the ones I’m talking about) Like I said: I’m invigorated. As if my capacity for asking the BIG questions (the HARD questions) has become just slightly louder. Probably screechier too, haha.

In closing, the message I must take away from the book is this:

The journey of living and embodying truth may be a rough road still-travelled, but there’s something at stake that’s perhaps larger than personal suffering in the face of blatant sleaze. Of misinformation. Of bigotry and hatred. And moreso, that there are still people out there who, as alone as they feel, are out there fighting for a cause almost too large to grasp–which is why it look so fucking messy. Yet, in all of these messes, there is something almost tangible happening to our society, a constant zeitgeist that seems to evolve us lightyears ahead to…

I’m getting away from myself. Instead, I will leave with what She Said:

“If the story was not shared, nothing would change. Problems that are not seen cannot be addressed. In our world of journalism, the story was the end, the result, the final product. But in the world at large, the emergence of new information was just the beginning–of conversation, action, change.”

Header Image Copyright Jessica Barratt

Community First, Movement Second: A Short Bio of Harsha Walia

“…the most important feature of powerful social movements, is an affirmation of community.”

– From “Young, Brown and Proud: Personal purpose and political activism” by Harsha Walia


Connection requires a crossing of boundaries. It requires seeing one thing in another without disturbance of difference: that old mean thing still snipping at the threads we THE PEOPLE weave when we breach the gap between ourselves and another, when we see ourselves as one. And it seems these days that those who are best at connecting were born to difference, too. With wide focus, they can see it for what it truly is and pass through as if there were no boundary at all—grasping at those other strands with ease and bringing the rest of us gratefully along. 

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Still Learning: Confronting Myself on ‘Naming the Unnamed’ Within

Sometimes, when something hurts me, it takes a while for me to feel it. I’m the kind that won’t even realize I’d been so affected until much later, years after, and at random. 

Sometimes, what I’ve suppressed never comes to light at all.

Usually this is because, “I don’t know where to put it.” Slow to process, quick to Proceed Past, I’m always moving onto the next thing before I’ve even finished the first. And if one of these things should get stuck in the “forgetting”, the “suppressing”, it’s rejection will likely bring it back up.

Finally found, it causes a shake—a paling, like I’ve seen a ghost. For some time, casting the world in the glare of its light, it is all that I can see. 

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Clasping Hands with the “Women Who Named the Unnamed”

May I ask you a question, imagined reader?

Who do you think of – who pops into your mind first – when you imagine a woman in your life who has ‘named the unnamed’? Who has stood up in the face of being told to stay quiet only to say simply, I won’t?

When asking myself the same, I feel lucky to find not just one but many such women fill the space—at least, these days I do. Like a breath of fresh air, it’s recently become easier to reach out and find that desperately needed connection with these others—these women who manifest in my mind’s eye as a clasping of many hands (of my hands) outside of space, and time, and memory. 

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Drums of Change: A Review of Fauzia Rafique’s The Adventures of SahebaN

Being a Canadian woman writer of European descent, I came into Fauzia Rafique’s The Adventures of SahebaN without background knowledge of the role (Mirza) Sahiba plays in much of traditional Punjabi culture. The beauty of Rafique’s text however, is how my lack does not impact my understanding of how the narrative turns a cultural model for perfection (Sahiba) on her head to showcase the flaws of that very perfection, and (in particular) to show that a woman can be honourable, and pure, and loyal, without bowing to the restrictive ideas and expectations that society and religion place upon her.

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