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Column: This is why we march

Last week, I found myself in a disagreement with a "friend" who lives in central Newfoundland.

Melissa Jenkins

In what I thought was an innocent argument turned quickly into the end of a friendship because of blatant disregard and disrespect for me, and more importantly for women everywhere.

I received two messages from this guy that would probably affect most other females much more than it did me.

In the message, he called me a synonym for being sexually promiscuous (take your pick, the actual term is irrelevant) and said, "you're not the greatest looking or anything. Not like you're a keeper."

Those that know me know that I am tough as nails. These comments roll of me like water off a duck's back. But it showed me that people turn to personal attacks when either rejected or someone disagrees with them. For women, it often means their looks and behaviour are targeted.

I would like to point out that the comments he made were based off "asking around" about me months ago, and he refused to tell me who said them.

After seeing dozens of negative posts on Facebook about the Women's March on Washington and links to stories that called the march "useless" and "pointless," I felt it necessary to share the comments publicly.

For those who believe that women (and allies to the same cause) are equal, that we share the same rights and get treated the same way as men (and others that are classified as elitist), ask yourself if a man gets catcalled, verbally attacked based on their physical appearance, gets told they were asking for it after being sexually assaulted or is told their reproductive rights were in the hands of female law makers?

If a woman complains, most of the time, the answer is, "I was just joking," or "lighten up."

How many times have I heard that? So far this month alone, I've lost count.

For those who believe we, as women and allies, are marching for no reason, to just stick it to the man or because we "hate Donald Trump," you're wrong. It's about rights, it's about treatment and it's about respect.

I'm glad I lost a friend that day, because no one that thinks like that is a friend of mine.


— Melissa Jenkins is the editor of the Northern Pen, an advocate for human rights and a supporter of the Women's March

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