Keynote Address– Julie Lalonde (OUTSIDE OF THE SHADOWS)
For over a decade, I kept a secret. An award-winning advocate for women’s rights, I crisscrossed the country, denouncing violence against women and giving 100s of media interviews along the way. My work made national headlines for challenging universities and taking on Canada’s top military brass. Appearing fearless on the surface, I met every interview and event with the same fear in my gut: Is he here?
Fleeing intimate partner violence at age 20, I went on to be stalked by my ex-partner for over ten years, rarely mentioning it to friends, let alone addressing it publicly. The contrast between my public career as a brave champion for women with my own private life of violence and fear meant a shaky and exhausting balancing act.
And then, my abuser died suddenly in a car accident. It was over.
Armed with a PTSD diagnosis and the ultimate YOLO attitude, I set off to tell my story and educate people on the reality of stalking.
Meanwhile, debates about the Jian Ghomeshi trial were raging and there was a national conversation about rape culture and believing survivors. Everyone seemed to be asking: How am I to believe women who seem to be doing just fine?
Resilience sounds like a positive thing, so why do we often use it against women?
Tenacity and bravery might help us survive unimaginable horrors, but where are the spaces for anger and vulnerability?
Armed with years of experience as an educator and my personal story, I channeled my frustration at the lack of awareness of stalking and our simplistic view of stalking into a film. “Outside of the Shadows” is an animated film about criminal harassment that provides survivors with practical tools for safety planning while also challenging allies to step and do better.
This presentation will give audience members a crash course on criminal harassment while challenging their own perceptions of victimhood and resilience.