To whom it may concern, I wrote this on Saturday about an hour after the encounter. I have a desire to send it out on social media, but I know that a published article would gain more traction in respect to calling out lewd , disrespectful, and violent behaviour like this.
Today, Saturday March 9th, the day after International Women’s Day, a Women’s March was organized to walk around downtown Red Deer, Alberta. The intersection of Gaetz Avenue and Ross Street has been a popular spot for the “Yellow Vest protesters”. While on the march, the group had to pass the protestors to complete their route. While passing, one of the protesters shouted multiple times to the group “rope ‘em and grope ‘em”.
Agitated by this encounter, while my fiancée, Amber, and I were driving past them we rolled down our window and she held out her sign that read “equality for all”. Six or seven people came up to our car. I put on my hazard lights. “Who said rope ‘em and grope ‘em?” Amber demanded. “How disrespectful to the women’s march!”
As a man standing a few feet away from this small gathering snickered and chuckled, the rest of them chimed in with “I didn’t say that”, “that wasn’t me”, “that’s not what he said”, and other deflects denying the comments heard by the group of over 100 Canadians marching to celebrate women everywhere.
Before driving away, I spoke up and said “We’re not talking about what any of you said. We’re talking about equality for all genders. A member of your group is being incredibly disrespectful towards women, I’m thinking it’s probably that guy smirking over there.”
Political intentions aside, the interaction with these “Yellow Vest Protesters” and the man who encourages the “roping and groping” of women who they defended makes me question the integrity of some of these individuals holding signs and claiming to be “making Canada great again”.
I felt proud to be beside the love of my life while we tried to call out this act of blatant sexism and verbal violence, but was disheartened that it came from Central Alberta, where I’m proud to call home. I wrote about this encounter in the hopes that more people stand up against acts like this, and fewer people stand beside them.