I have been reflecting on the last few months around body integrity as new laws have recently been introduced surrounding women and queer individuals’ rights in some states and within Canada. What does it mean to have bodily integrity? The principle of bodily integrity sums up the right of each human being, including children, to autonomy and self-determination over their own body. It considers an unconsented physical intrusion as a human rights violation.
This speaks to the power of personal autonomy, around having the right to determine one’s gender, the right to have a child or abort, and being around individuals in a bar or pub setting without the fear of being sexually assaulted. It is a real injustice knowing that not everyone today in 2022 has equal rights, especially over their own bodies.
As I continue to reflect this quote from bell hooks comes to mind…
Justice demands integrity. It’s to have a moral universe — not only know what is right or wrong but to put things in perspective, weigh things.bell hooks
When I weigh things, I see that privilege and power are being re-organized and not in ways that protect everyone, which highly enrages me. As a feminist woman, I am saddened that our society and the government choose to overlook the true meaning of bodily integrity and put laws in place around marginalized individuals’ bodies.
What can we do? Steps we can all take to have our voices heard as Canadians are to contact politicians and government officials with emails, letters, telephone calls, and social media posts informing them of the impact these laws have on our overall safety. Informing and educating friends, family, work peers, and local members helps to rally up support within a community as more voices united can create policy changes.