Briefly noted: ‘Walk Myself Home’

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“tear down every poster every newsstand every high-tension wire every bill board every high-rise  every highway sign leading out of town  every aeroplane in the sky  every high and mighty penthouse hotel every bar and grill  tear up every alley where you were hurt  every research paper that described you and got it wrong  every house that trapped you  every letter  every spite  every thought that thought you less  every x and y with too much breath in your face  or too much blade at your throat  every shout  every temper  every gust of grit around your feet  every car parked outside your door  every doorway  every bank every bonnet  every promise  every classroom   every boy with a semi-automatic under his right arm  rushing in  yelling freeze  just before you do” – Excerpt from the book.

As I was blogging about the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre on my Calamities of the Heart blog, I thought of this 2010 anthology that serves in part as a voice for women who have been victims of violence and/or who live in areas where they must live in fear of it daily.

walkyourselfhomeIn the aftermath of Ferguson, some said that a white person cannot possibly understand the daily challenges and fears of African Americans. Likewise, it might be said that men cannot possibly understand that it’s like to live with the challenges and fears of women of all races.

When read carefully, Walk Myself Home edited by Andrea Routley may help men and women understand what’s on the other side of the gender gap.

From the Publisher: “There is an epidemic of violence against women in Canada and the world. For many women physical and sexual assault, or the threat of such violence, is a daily reality. Walk Myself Home is an anthology of poetry, fiction, nonfiction and oral interviews on the subject of violence against women including contributions by Kate Braid, Yasuko Thahn and Susan Musgrave.

“Walk Myself Home began as a small idea: to create a chapbook and sell it at the next LoudSpeaker Festival. The response was overwhelming. This small idea found a chorus of voices, and its sound was too big for a chapbook.”

From Amy Reiswig’s Review in Focus Online: “Be prepared. Many of these short works explicitly discuss or represent assault—at the hands of fathers, teachers, strangers, friends, neighbours. Routley also includes pieces addressing subtler forms of violence: derisive jokes, job discrimination and cultural assumptions around beauty, submission and gender roles. As she writes in the introduction, ‘In order to end violence against women in our society, we must be able to recognize it,’ and this means recognizing not just actions but attitudes.”

Ultimately, the book promotes hope, hope that–as Heidi Greco says her review–will lead to a time when “every woman can say with confidence – no matter the time of night or day – not to worry, that I’ll Walk Myself Home.”

Perhaps some day the book will be available in Kindle/Nook for those who cannot afford the paperback.

–Malcolm

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