by Shae-Lynn Loughran Volunteer Journalist ***Opinion***
In Shabha Sharma’s talk titled, “I Wanna Change The World but The World Changed Me,” she talks about the imbalance of privilege throughout the world, focusing on women's and children's right in India and Canada. Her talk started with photographs matched with compelling stories of her time spent in India and the things she experienced while there. Listening to her talk brought up some important thoughts and ideas that I now realize should be addressed daily. Sharma made it known that there is a clear difference in the two countries. In Canada, mothers are provided with plenty of medical resources while they are pregnant, yet in India, there is far little care from the government for those who cannot afford it or are not of a high enough Kast. At the end of her speech, she asks us to think about these issues, not just within our own country or India, but across the world to come to terms with our privilege. The only critique that can be said of her talk is that when she talked about India, she did not always explain some of the terms that we are unfamiliar with here. In the end, her speech was well laid out, with a natural flow, high points, emotional stories and profound questions for the audience.
Pastor Seth Shelly
In Pastor Seth Shelly’s speech “Men need to talk about their sexual abuse,” he centers around the idea of narratives being placed on people, and how they affect us. He starts with a quote from his grandfather, “Are you a man or a mouse?’’ this quote proves the main point of his speech. That person is given these expectations, or narratives from an early age, often without another option that they can see. He says that “misconceptions rob identity” and that we can not label “a single identity to a group of diverse people.” He starts his speech with the first quote and continues by sharing his story. His story is very significant because we often do not hear stories of abuse from men, which only reinforces his point. However, through telling his story, he can show us the importance of not only realizing that we as a society put these narratives on youth but how speaking out about your individual story. Pastor Seth Shelly talks about how when we hear stories that are similar it helps us not feel so alone, and then give us the confidence to tell our own stories, and by doing this, we will lessen the narratives that are forced onto us. He says our stories matter and it is important that we share, as this will make us better listeners. His endnotes are that “sexual violence against males is real,” and “Your story matters.” His speech was very well laid out, he delivered it well, it was easy to see the point he made, and he helped open the audience up to a new way of thinking.