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A Thank-You to the Brave Women of 2017

Silhouette of four women against the sunset

By Jill Szaroz

In 2017, a lot of us saw many well-known celebrities fall from grace for allegations of sexual misconduct.

Victims were finally heard. Wrongs weren’t made right, of course, but accountability finally started to happen.

I am a mother of 2 beautiful little girls, a 5 year old and a 2 year old. And although this subject is far too mature for me to broach with them at their current ages, I will be able to look back and tell my 10 & 12 year old that 2017 was a pivotal year of change for women. We have set a domino effect in place. It all started with one brave soul, and spread to hundreds in a matter of months. Hundreds of victims who were silenced for years came forward, and spoke their truth. And millions upon millions have listened, and stood behind them.

It is my hope that this domino effect will continue. Instead of having victims be silenced for 20 plus years, I hope women follow the lead of all of the brave souls of 2017 and find their voice as soon as an awful situation like this happens to them, heaven forbid, in their own personal lives. Because although it is always a dream to live in a problem-free world, the reality is the likelihood of living in a world where sexual assault is no more is next to impossible. What is possible, however, what this year has made possible, is for victims to speak their truth. No longer are women being complacent to these crimes, or worse, speaking their truth and being victim-shamed.  They are being lifted up by women and men alike. Their voices being heard, and their power being returned to them.

Raising two girls can be scary in a man power-driven world. My daughters have such an innocent quality about them that I can’t even bear to imagine the day that words such as “rape” or “molestation” or “abuse” enter their vocabulary. But these are the truths of our world, and it will make me so much prouder as a mother and a woman to be able to provide my daughters with so many examples of times women were victimized, but stood up for what they believed in and in exchange were honoured for that bravery. The single most powerful thing 2017 has taught us all as women is that we can no longer be silenced. We have a voice, and the power to deliver the truth. We have known for decades that women will change the face of our world, and I think we will all look back at 2017 as a pivotal year for our progression.

And I, for one, cannot wait to share that with my daughters.

To all you women out there braving the storm, thank you. The current and future mother in me thanks you from the bottom of my heart for paving the way for my own two girls’ to never feel that silence is the answer.

Jill is a self-employed mum who lives in Morinville, Alberta, with her 2 busy but beautiful daughters, McKenna (5) & Emilia (2.5), her husband Matthew, their 3-legged dog Shiloh, budgie Harry, and fish named Blue-Blue.