Oh Canada: Some thoughts on assisted suicide

A few days ago the Supreme Court struck down assisted suicide laws in Canada, deeming them unconstitutional.

I oppose this development, for many reasons, but the chief among them because I have loved ones who are vulnerable, who are in pain, and who have begged for death. Knowing that it is no longer illegal for a doctor to kill them fills me with fear for their lives as well as their ability to access adequate, appropriate medical treatment.

It is easy for healthy, able-bodied people to look at those who are suffering or who are disabled, and to think “I would never want to live that way.” It is easy for those of us in the middle class who have never experiences racism or ableism to claim that we will protect the weak and vulnerable who do want to live. We have never had to fear that a doctor would kill us out of negligence or malice. We have never had to wonder if a doctor would take our complaints seriously. We have never been filled with dread at the thought of the treatment we would receive at an emergency room. We have never experienced indifference or disgust as we have tried to obtain even just a little bit of help for our disabilities. We have never experienced paternalism, for we are young, or rich, or white, or mentally competent. We are not the kinds of people who are ignored or taken advantage of.

We have not experienced these things. But I have watched as an elderly loved one was almost operated on even though medication she was taking would have caused her to die almost instantly in the operating room. I heard as doctors argued about whether or not it would be worth it to operate on another elderly relative, despite the fact that he was otherwise perfectly healthy and, prior to his collapse, living independently (aside: a surgeon did decide to give him a chance, and he has now, a mere 6 months later, fully recovered after being on life support for weeks). I have read countless news articles on native Americans dying in emergency rooms because the doctors and nurses ignored them. I have seen doctors abandon my loved one with dementia, refuse to help his family find him care, and refuse to treat him.

Not all doctors would do these things. But doctors are human, and even those with altruistic motivations make mistakes, have prejudices, and neglect their patients once in awhile.

And now, it is legal for doctors to kill their patients. It frightens me to know that the doctors who have neglected, mistreated, or refused to even look at my loved ones, now may have the ability to also kill them.

One thing I have noticed when I have spoken out against this ruling, is that acquaintances and friends say that I cannot speak about this since I have never watched a loved one writhe in pain, beg for death, or slowly waste away.

I have seen all of those things. Just because I have not posted about them on Facebook, it does not mean that I do not have loved ones who have suffered or died painful deaths.

I am watching a loved one slowly forget everyone they know.

I have watched a sibling struggle with depression and suicide.

I have seen some of my elderly relatives wish that they would die.

I have cared for people with profound disabilities.

And despite the pain and suffering I witnessed and experienced, I still do not think it is right for a doctor to legally kill a patient. Because I have also seen how easy it is for humans to abuse any power that they might have. I have seen vulnerable people being taken advantage of, and I know that no one cares if someone dies when they are old, disabled, or part of a minority, especially if they alone with no family or friends to speak up for them.

I have also watched as other elderly relatives have begged to live, and were almost denied life-saving care.

I am against capital punishment because the risk of killing an innocent man or woman, however small, is too great.

I am against assisted suicide for the same reason. Even though it may end suffering, if even one person is killed due to neglect, racism, ableism, elder abuse, or paternalism, that is one too many, and I am not willing to sacrifice these lives.

I have been told that this is selfish. That I should be willing to let my grandparents be killed against their wishes in order to let someone else end their own suffering. I have also been told that I should simply help my sibling die if that is what is really desired, despite that sibling being young, able-bodied, with a long and bright future ahead of them, and despite the fact that they are now on a road to recovery.

To these people, I say that it is you who are selfish. You are so absorbed with what you yourself would want, that you cannot see how your desires hurt those who are weaker than yourselves. Those who are old, disabled, or mentally ill. You are willing to directly cause their deaths, even admit that you do not care if they die, in order to live and die comfortably yourself.

You are selfish, and you are hurting people. I only hope you can realize that before it is too late.

Radio Host Demonstrates Why Feminism Is Still Important

I don’t know if I’m the only one, but often self-proclaimed feminists give me an unfavourable impression of feminism. Feminism seems dominated by a mob mentality, and seems filled with angry,  pearl-clutching women (the recent shirt-gate of Rosetta fame comes to mind). However, every once in awhile something happens that makes me think, you know what? Maybe there is a reason feminists are so easily offended.

I’m talking about the joke made by CFOX host Jeff O’Neil, who suggested guest host Chris Gailus ask Liberal leader Justin Trudeau whom he (Trudeau) would fuck, kill, or marry out of three prominent female Canadian political figures (Laureen Harper, Health Minister Rona Ambrose, and former governor general Michaëlle Jean) at a later interview.

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A Story of Domestic Violence

Broken by amai911 on deviantART

This story is a true one. First, I will tell it without revealing who is the man and who is the woman.

The Story of the Worst Breakup of All Time

Person A (who we’ll call “A” for simplicity) has been dating Person B (who we’ll call “B”) for over three years. They live together, but are not “officially” married. A is very happy, but, seemingly out of the blue, B decides that (s)he is not, and A is suddenly single and alone. B moves out.

The days pass, and A is beginning to get used to being alone. One night, a couple of weeks after the breakup, A returns home to find B in the living room (where did B get the house key from?). B proceeds to scream and yell at A, and A, shocked, asks B to leave. B refuses.

A asks B to leave once more, and B becomes even more angry. B hits A. The next day, A will have bruises.

After hitting A, B goes to A’s bedroom. A follows and insists that B leave, but B proceeds to trash A’s room and again refuses to leave. So instead, A leaves before the situation escalates any further, and sleeps somewhere else that night, leaving B in the apartment alone.

The next day, B leaves to go to work. A immediately calls a locksmith and changes all of the locks. Still nervous about being surprised by B, A spends the next week sleeping at a different friend’s house each night.

After this experience, A no longer feels safe in his/her own home. A moves to a new apartment, and does his/her best to hide his/her new address from B.

A never calls the police.

So, dear readers, what do you think? Who is the man in this situation, and who is the woman?

If I told you that A was the woman, and B the man, what would you think and feel? Probably, you would be angry, and you might talk about women’s rights, about oppression, about the patriarchy, and about violence against women. You might also feel scared for yourself, or for the women in your life who might have to experience the same things that A experienced. Maybe you’re one of those idiots who believes that the situation was all A’s fault because she never called the police or sought help (despite being confused, berated, heartbroken, and depressed), or you might think that the story is funny, or think that something must have been wrong with A for her boyfriend to react so violently. If you are that idiot, you need to learn some compassion.

But, you might not realize that you actually are that idiot.

You see, A is not the woman in this relationship. A is the man. B was his girlfriend.

And that tiny fact usually completely changes how people react to this story. When I tell this with the genders revealed, most people laugh – that’s right, actually laugh – about A’s predicament. Even when I tell them that he was injured, that his property was damaged, and that he was forced to secretly move in order to avoid his girlfriend’s stalking. If they don’t laugh, they usually express disbelief that something like this could actually happen outside of the movies. No one asks if A called the police. No one feels afraid for him, or for any of the men in their lives.

No one asks if A is alright.

Some people even try to say that everything was A’s fault.

Basically, they all react to the story like the idiot from the first scenario.

They all victim blame or shame.

So the next time you hear about partner abuse against men, don’t make fun, don’t laugh, and don’t blame him. Listen to him, and help him if you can. Be supportive.

And for that matter,  support women too – chances are you know a girl who has been a victim. But remember, violence can be – and often is – gender-neutral. It can happen to anyone!

Some Food For Thought

I haven’t been blogging as much lately due to some serious issues in my life (don’t want to go into details here, suffice to say that it has been a really difficult few weeks). I just wanted to stop in to share a few things that have given me a lot to think about recently.

thoughts by ErinBird on deviantART (read on, and I think you’ll understand why this picture perfectly represents the themes of this post)

First up, a, brilliant blog post by Marc Barnes of Bad Catholic, entitled “Women Swiftly Running Out Of Things That Aren’t Sexy“. He has managed, in a few hundred words, to portray exactly what bothers me about both the Christian Church’s treatment of women, and of the mainstream “let’s-ennoble-women-to-be-engineers-and-mathematicians!” treatment of women. Have you noticed that everything we women do revolves being told that we are sexy or hot? Our bodies are hot – skinny is hot, curvy is hot, revealing clothes are hot, modesty is hot. Not only are our choices about our bodies framed in an entirely sexual way, but now our minds are too. Our brains are sexy – reading is sexy, intelligence is sexy, math is sexy …. etcetera ad nauseam (a redundant latin statement if there ever was one). I certainly fall into this trap, and find myself wishing I am desirable far more often than is healthy. Of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting to be desirable in and of itself – but it should not be the only or even the principle reason behind working out or studying for an exam.
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On Feeling Hot (and Summertime)

Summer time 2 by nowydudzi on deviantART

Summertime has finally arrived (sort of). The temperature is rising (and dipping, but mostly rising), the air is humid, the sun is out … and, being a student who does not own a car, walking places has now become seriously uncomfortable. And by uncomfortable, I mean I arrive at school covered in sweat, which is not fun when you have 9:00 am meetings with professors.

Cue the short shorts and t-shirts.

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Someone's watching over you.
Drifting in,
Drifting out,
Sometimes, you can feel her.
She's right beside you.
Her hand holds you still.
Her kisses keep you grounded.
She speaks,
But quietly.
She knows that you are strong.
And you breath.
It's hard.
But you breath.
And we all stand behind you.
Holding you up,
Lifting you onward,
Loving you.
And still, she's beside you.
Laughing as she finally hears you say her name.

Guardian Angel by lostknightkg from deviantART

Drum Roll Please …. Leibster Award Nomination!!

YAY! I’ve just been nominated for my very first blog award, and I am so, so grateful and humbled that someone thought highly enough of my writing to nominate my blog. It is such a great, amazing feeling to know that there are people out there who can relate to my posts. A huge thank you goes to theblackace for the nomination, and please head over to her blog and check out her writing!

Anyway, before actually writing this post, I had to google what a Leibster Award is, I’ve never heard of it before! After reading a few blog posts about this award, I have to say that I love this idea! It’s such a great way to find new blogs to read. Whoever came up with this award, major props to you!

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