Step Towards Changing the Culture Of Shame

What I'm Taking Away From The Jian Ghomeshi Scandal

Step Towards Changing the Culture Of Shame

I want to talk about the Jian Ghomeshi scandal, but without talking about Jian Ghomeshi. Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard about it. And it’s beyond horrible and scary and sad.

But it didn’t really affect me until a few days ago.

What made it feel truly and completely real to me was when Reva Seth came out with her startling allegations.

You see, Reva Seth is South Asian (by her own account). And what I know about South Asian women is, we don’t typically talk about dating and men.

That was, and still is, taboo in my culture. As I'm sure it is in many other cultures.

I’m South Asian, Punjabi, Indian, Sikh, brown, and a plethora of other definitions that boil down to one thing. Tradition.

And tradition has it that Indian women don’t date. Ever. Not in our teens, not in our twenties, and not even in our thirties.

Tradition has it that we find a nice boy (somehow), go for coffee (during the day), and agree to get married (or not). You can imagine that it all takes a very good cup of coffee.

That’s lovely in thought (not really) but isn’t quite so realistic by today’s standards. Every single Indian woman I know has dated. And every single Indian woman I know has lied to her family about it.

We either outright lie or omit the truth.

We pretend we don’t date, we pretend we don’t notice men, and we pretend that we don’t know what a kiss feels like.

And we really don’t talk about more than kisses.

And we really, really don't talk about what can happen when those kisses lead to something far more sinister.

Because being South Asian is amazing and wonderful and something I'm very proud of. And although the vast majority of it is everything golden, there is that other side I'm ashamed of...

The side that makes it a source of family shame if a woman dares to date. A source of embarrassment if a woman admits to being more than friends with a man. A source of grief if a woman decides to explore a part of life that is better left unspoken.

And this side is what makes us South Asian women secretive. Makes us feel the need to hide what's really going on.

The good parts. And especially the bad parts.

So if we're hiding it, how will we ever know that it's not okay to be physically, sexually, verbally, mentally, emotionally abused? That it's never okay?

We won't. 

We won't know until someone talks about it.

And Reva Seth just talked about it.

And that took care of that.

And she wasn't judged or ostracized.

She was applauded and taken into the collective fold of women everywhere.

And now? Now, I have hope.

Hope that my South Asian daughters will grow up in a world where they can talk about anything without fear of being judged or ridiculed or ostracized.

And if that happens, they will know that they were not at fault.

Not because they drank more than they should have, wore something they shouldn’t have, or flirted more than they should have. 

And it won't matter that as a South Asian woman, tradition has it that you shouldn't have been in that position.

Because that tradition is outdated and doesn't work for everyone.

And the beauty of life is that new traditions can be created.

Traditions that harbour honesty and open communication. Traditions that don’t allow for secrets. Traditions that have no place for shame.

Because if we’ve learned anything in the aftermath of these allegations, it is a culture of shame that leads to these secrets being kept. Shame that you, as the victim, will be judged or labelled or reprimanded.

Shame that you let it happen. Shame that you, as a woman, let it happen. But more significantly, shame that you as a South Asian woman (who should have known better and wasn't raised this way), let it happen. 

Because that is false. That is a lie that we have been told until we've believed it but it is still just a lie. The blame is not ours because we are women. The blame is not ours because we are South Asian women.

The blame is not ours.

And Reva Seth is not to blame. And the world agreed.

And now, I'm hopeful that this is the catalyst that begins the process of change. While I wish that we lived in a society where women didn’t have to talk about any of this, the silver lining to this experience has been that we have started the conversation. We have begun to talk about it and hopefully, we will continue to talk about it.

Until that shame becomes outrage and that outrage leads to real change. For all cultures and backgrounds.

Image Source: WikiCommons

Read more from Gurpreet about raising daughters in a hypocritical world and a letter to her daughter.




Your Child's Education: The Best Time To Start Saving

Why Having RESPs For My Children Is A Priority

Your Child's Education: The Best Time To Start Saving

When Is The Best Time To Start Saving For Your Child’s Education?

If you have kids, you know the answer is always, “NOW!”

“Mommy, I need to go to the bathroom NOW!”

“Daddy, I don’t want carrots. I want strawberries. NOW!”

“Honey, that child gate needs to go up NOW!”


So when you ask yourself the question as to when is the best time to start saving for your child’s education, let me help make it really clear.


Seriously. Like right now.

If you’re still not convinced, let me tell a personal story that might just change your mind.

When I had my first daughter, I was a wreck.  I bought the baby monitor with the audio, video, and movement monitors because you can never be too safe.  Then I stressed about some stranger being able to look into my baby’s room with the damn thing.

I researched for months to find the safest, most reliable car seat for infants. Then I drove about 5 km/hour for the first year of her life, just in case.  I stockpiled homeopathic medication, baby Advil, baby Tylenol, baby Tempra, and anything else I could find at the pharmacy so I’d be prepared for my baby’s first flu.

Then I hesitated to use any of it when the time came because what-about-the-side-effects?!

But you know what I didn’t buy?

A Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).


Because I was too busy washing her clothes in only the gentlest of laundry detergents approximately 21.74 times before her first wear, sanitizing her bottles by both boiling them and then using the sanitizer just to be safe, using the thermometer to ensure her bath water wasn’t too hot or too cold for her tiny little body.

Basically, I was too busy worrying about things that didn’t really matter all that much.

Parenting is 100% worry, 100% of the time.

And sometimes, we easily overlook the bigger picture items in the face of the small, everyday worries.

As a first time parent, I honestly didn’t think I had the time nor the energy to open a RESP.

And so I didn’t even think about it.  Until I had my second daughter.  And a good friend came to visit her. A good friend who is also a financial whiz.  The first thing she asked me, after holding the baby, was if I’d signed up for her RESP.

I was all, “Huh? RESP? Ummm, well, hmmm.”

I think my response gave me away.  She asked me why I was more concerned with finding the right diaper bag than my child’s education.


Diaper bag or education?  She had me on a technicality.  And the truth is, she was right.  Education is important. Really, really important.  More important that all those fancy outfits that get worn once, the endless piles of toys, the useless baby gear.  But I’d neglected it in the face of everyday chaos. Oops.

So what could I really do but tell her the truth.  I told her it was too confusing and I didn’t want to lose money on some investment I didn’t understand. I didn’t want to spend money on fees nor waste time I didn’t have with agents trying to sell me the moon and stars.  You know, just the norm.  Luckily for me, she was my biggest ally in getting an RESP.

She explained to me that RESPs just make sense because the benefits are substantial. You earn interest tax-free. The government gives you grants. Let me put it another way, the government gives you free money!

Done! Sign me up! She had me at free money!

And I realized that’s what I’d needed all along.  An ally that made it easy. So easy, that I wish I’d done it sooner with my first.

And that’s what giraffe & friends is.  An ally to getting your child’s RESP. A no fee, 100% guaranteed ally that takes the uncertainty out of investing in your child’s future.  An ally that's changing the norm.  Basically, it’s as easy as going online and signing up. There is no confusing jargon, no sales pitch, no maintenance needed.

giraffe & friends isn’t your typical RESP provider. They’re rewriting the rules when they promise you that your personal savings are 100% guaranteed to grow. That’s exactly the piece of mind new parents need when everything else in their world is constantly changing. You don’t have to keep up with the financial news or maintain your account to keep your money safe and growing. They do all the work for you. They also take care of all the government grants, meaning you won’t miss any extra government support.

But you’re probably still wondering how much should you contribute to an RESP? It’s simple, really. Whatever you can. Make it work for you. Whether this means that you use the money your child receives as gifts, baby shower offerings, government grants, anything that makes sense for your family. The Government of Canada will add an extra 20% to your contributions, with a cap of $500/year and a total contribution cap of $7200 for the life of the RESP. So if you’re looking to receive the maximum government grant of $500, you would have to contribute $2500 a year or about $208.33 a month. The math really is that simple.

And the wonderful thing is that giraffe & friends provides you with contribution flexibility to suit your budget. You can make lump sum payments or schedule easy to manage pre-authorized payments through your bank account or credit card.

You decide what works for you and you do it your way, all from the comfort of your own home.

I didn’t have giraffe & friends to guide and help me purchase an RESP when my first child was born. Had I known it could be so easy, I’d have done it right away to ensure I didn’t miss out on any of the government grants. Because the truth is, the sooner you do it, the more money you can potentially receive and save.

Let giraffe & friends be your ally in navigating your child’s RESP. Go online and check it out yourself.


It’s the one purchase you won’t regret making...unlike that pee-pee teepee.

Time flies by in the blink of an eye. One day you’re worrying about sending your little one to preschool, the next you’re sending them off to college. That’s why it’s important to invest in an RESP now.

Start saving today with a giraffe & friends' no-fee, worry-free and 100% guaranteed RESP. giraffe & friends helps you sleep easy with guaranteed growth, easy-to understand language, and the powerful boost of government grants.

Visit the ‘How To Plan For Your Kid's Future’ page and learn the best ways for parents to save money, when you should start saving, and more.


Happy Gurpurab! A Crash Course in Sikhism

Today Sikhs Celebrate One Of Our Holiest Days

Happy Gurpurab! A Crash Course in Sikhism

Happy Gurpurab! A Crash Course in Sikhism

Today is an important day.

Today Sikhs all over the world are celebrating Gurpurab, the birth of our first Guru, Guru Nanak Ji.

Today, we remember his teachings. Teachings that apply whether you’re Sikh or not:

  • All humans are considered God’s children regardless of religious affiliation, gender, or social caste.         
  • Therefore, all being equal in the sight of God, no one is either greater or lesser by birth alone.

Guru Nanak Ji taught that a meaningful life is comprised of three simple rules. Rules that make sense even today:

  • Kirat Karo. Earn your livelihood by honest work and labour.
  • Naam Jaapo. Remember God in everything that you do.
  • Vund chako. Partake in selfless service to others in the form of seva and charity.

Guru Nanak Ji worked hard to reinforce these rules in a number of ways:

  • He established equal seating in the Gurdwara (temple) where man or woman, king or peasant, all sat together as one on the floor. No one higher or lower than the other.
  • He created the concept of Langar (free kitchen). Anyone is welcome at the Gurdwara and everyone is encouraged to eat Langar, regardless of who you are or where you come from. The Golden Temple is the most well-known Sikh Gurdwara and feeds up to 100,000 people every day.

So what does this really mean?

It means be a good human being.  Work hard.

Remember God. Meditate. Pray. Whatever that may mean for you.

Give selflessly. Get involved in charity work. Remember the less fortunate.

Not all that far off from the basics, right?

If you think about it, we’re really not so different.

We’re all trying to be the best possible version of ourselves and today, Sikhs will celebrate the best that we have to offer.

And while we may look foreign, we’re really just the same as you.

So, Happy Gurpurab to you and your family too!

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