2022 so far

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Hello everyone and belated Happy New Year, 

The first two months of 2022 have gone so quickly. January was a big push for Andrea and me to complete the first edit of our manuscript. Twenty chapters later, with approximately 100,000 words, I dare to believe we have a potential best-seller with “Buying Sex – Who really pays?” Our working title is adapted from an earlier 2005 awareness campaign (above). For now, I will simply state our chapters, all of which are  interspersed with personal stories and considerable references:

  1. Continuum of commercial sex
  2.  Who are the victims?
  3. Familial abuse and hidden populations
  4. The vocal minority vs the common good
  5. Who are the buyers?
  6. Pimps and traffickers
  7. Pornography
  8. Grooming
  9. Gaslighting of society
  10. Public health and social justice crisis
  11. Academia crisis
  12. Torture as a means of control
  13. Historic and legislative perspectives
  14. Focus on offenders – “john schools”
  15. Community and family responses
  16. Political representations
  17. MMIWG – Canada’s challenge
  18. Masculinity revisited
  19. Search for solutions 
  20. Best Practices

I know we still have much work ahead but it is exhilarating to have come so far. We are hoping to publish by this summer. 

On January 16, I had the opportunity to launch my first “marketing” talk. I was asked to speak at a Green Light Awareness fundraiser of behalf of NASHI, a safe house for girls in the Ukraine, and presented an introduction of our pending book.

Nashi, meaning “our children,” began in Saskatoon in 2004 with a group who wanted to (1) change the realities of young people at risk for human trafficking in Ukraine and (2) provide education about the horrors of human slavery. This amazing charity first partnered with a trade school and in 2008 began fundraising for the establishment of a stand-alone safe house for orphaned girls in the Ukraine. The Maple Leaf House, still supported primarily through private donations, was ready for its first family in 2014. Girls are supported through their school years to adult education and independence. Nashi is an outstanding example of how the continuous dedication of one community can make a difference in another country. 

Covid restrictions continued to reign through Feb in Alberta. Nevertheless, we enjoyed a week of birthday celebrations for my husband (age 82) and visited my mother (age 96) in Vermilion. 

The Winter Olympics provided wonderful distractions of amazing skills and abilities. It seems Putin waited until the Olympics were over (Feb 20) before he invaded Ukraine. I imagine the Russian athletes might have been banned from competition otherwise. Now we are on the verge of a worldwide  war. 

On another serious note, the government of Canada JUST Committee began hearings Feb 8 to review PCEPA, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act. It is discouraging to witness the polarity created by legislation designed to reduce the demand for sexual services. A vocal minority of self-proclaimed “sex workers” seem to feel attacked that their potential livelihood is threatened. Unfortunately, every voice in favor of the “right to sell” implies that men of the world have a “right to buy.” What a sad commentary on society that “survival sex” is even an option.

Another advantage of our relative reprieve while waiting for editorial feedback is that I was able to submit my own brief to the JUST Committee. I had applied to speak but was not accepted. That was probably just as well. What I wanted to say was summarized in five pages instead of five minutes. 

In the middle of all that was the three-week trucker protest in Ottawa and the Emergency Measures Act proclaimed to restore the city and the country.  Confidence in the government briefly hung in the balance and was resolved along party lines. Whatever the issues expressed, they were not partisan and they reflect, as with the PCEPA review, that many concerns need to be heard and understood before a more peaceful middle ground can be negotiated. 

Finally, during this time of relative reprieve, I spent a couple days reflecting of the development of Kisewatisiwin, a memorial Park to be created in the Alberta Avenue of Edmonton. This is an area from which a disproportionate number of women have disappeared or been murdered, including my daughter Cara. I have volunteered with the Park committee for almost two years. After the first year, a name was chosen in consultation with Indigenous Elders. Now the challenge is to decide on art work that reflects the spirit of “unconditional Love” and “compassion of Mother Earth” signified by Kisewatisiwin.

It seems I will be far from bored the next few months, maybe years, as I am called to express kindness and compassion through work on the book and the Memorial Park.  Hiy, hiy. So much more to follow.