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Whoever said you that you can't take brand equity to the bank never dealt with a knife to their reputation. Looking back over 2015, some notable stories stood out for being classic PR blunders, but there do exist a few situations that give us hope that doing right by doing good is still possible.
No question from my oldest daughter has torn more at my heart. A discussion about never taking rides with strangers unexpectedly morphed into a talk about sexual assault. "Mom," she whispered tentatively. "Do you mean that someone can just sneak up and do THAT to me?" My heart lurched into my throat. Until that moment, my bright-eyed daughter lived blissfully unaware of the fact that women can be raped. I was rendered momentarily speechless.
Though I am about as much of a dentist as I am a squirrel, the Dalhousie Dentistry scandal cannot be ignored, even by a humble B.F.A, such as myself. Of course, I was outraged by the misogynistic nature of a Facebook page that was created for the express purpose of debasing women within the dentistry program. However, the first thought that ran through my mind wasn't outrage over their sexist remarks.
What kind of year was 2014? It was a tough year to be female. Most of the time I consider myself lucky to be a woman living today rather than one born generations earlier. I marvel at how much easier I have it than my mother and all the women before her. And I am lucky; I have the ability to make choices -- about my education, life partner, reproductive rights and career -- that none of them ever had. Looking back at the year we had, though, wasn't it still way too tough -- too dangerous, even -- to be a woman or a girl in 2014?
Being a dentist is not a right. If someone is not appropriate to be a professional, society is not obligated towards them in some way. I hope these men do recognize how they have damaged their classmates and their community. Until the university gets how this entire thing was about privilege -- men feeling entitled to women's bodies, men feeling insulated by their position, men counting on lack of consequence -- they cannot create the necessary changes to their structures nor recognize and mitigate harm. If they are still puzzled by why women are so angry how can they help guide healing?