Finally the media seems to be addressing the issue of misogyny and violence towards women in society. For centuries women have been bullied, oppressed and sexually assaulted by men and for many, speaking out wasn’t a viable option. In the olden days, men controlled women by accusing them of witchcraft and had them burned at the stake. In modern times, woman who did have the courage to speak up ran the gauntlet and were threatened, silenced, had their careers destroyed or their lives taken.
In 2017 the Me too trend began on Twitter when Alyssa Milano encouraged women to reply if they had experienced sexual assault. The sheer number of women who came forward was over whelming and revealed a deep routed problem ingrained in our society. Like all trends, the me too campaign became a distant blip on our memories and women were once more subjected to misogyny, violence and abuse.
The horrific murder of Sarah Everard has encouraged activists to campaign for woman’s safety with hashtags such as #ReclaimTheStreets and women are revealing the gut-wrenching acts of violence they have suffered at the hands of violent men. Obviously when women say “violent men” they mean “violent men” not all men, but unfortunately a number of males on social media will always resort to twisting the narrative, and aim to discredit the victims and survivors. “What about women who are violent towards men?” piped up several when female activists campaigned for women’s safety. I am in no way denying that men can also suffer from violence and that a woman can be capable of being abusive, but it’s a small drop in the ocean compared to the tsunami of terror that has swept over womenkind since the dawn of time. Charity Women’s Aid reveal, “Women are considerably more likely to experience repeated and severe forms of abuse, including sexual violence. They are also more likely to have experienced sustained physical, psychological or emotional abuse, or violence which results in injury or death.”
As females in society, we must think about safety every time we leave the house. We must carry some kind of legal weapon or spray, avoid walking alone late at night, avoid desolate areas, avoid talking to strangers…the list goes on! Let’s be realistic for a moment and let me ask you this:
•How many men carry a rape alarm in case a woman rapes them?
•How many men avoid dark alleyways or isolated areas in case a woman carries out a sex attack on them or murders them?
•How many men worry about being too friendly with a woman in case she sees it as a come on and decides to sexually assault or murder him?
Do you see where I’m going with this? I could do this all day and write a hundred examples of why it is ridiculous it is to disparage women and minimise their need for safety. Clearly we have a huge problem and there are a number of men that feel it’s acceptable to touch and grope women without their consent. More disturbingly are those who feel they can carry out horrific sex crimes and extinguish a life. Without addressing the former and ensuring society views them as serious offences, we won’t reduce the latter.
As a female I’ve experienced a number of sexual and sexual motivated assaults. In bars, nightclubs and in the workplace there has been everything from leg touching and bottom smacking through an incident when I was 18 and a man grabbed my boob in a nightclub. When I slapped him, the bouncer threw me out of the club and I was forced to travel home alone at night. In situations like these society has a way of BLAMESHIFTING and making it the women’s fault. We’ve all heard the comments, “Her dress was too short,” “she had been drinking,” she was asking for it.” My response to those kind of attitudes are No she wasn’t, so what and no she wasn’t! A woman should feel safe to wear whatever she wants and lower her guard a little without fear of rape. She should not be condemned because a man cannot control his sexual urges. If he is that much of a danger to society that he is unable to control every desire he feels, chemical castrations seems a viable option.
On another occasion I was at my place of work in an office block. I was a college student, 16 years of age I had a cleaning job which I loved, until one day my supervisor made me clean the mens toilets. That evening, a male office worker bypassed the sign saying “Cleaning in progress” and walked into the toilets. I said to him, “Sorry these are closed but all the other toilets on the five other floors are still open.
He then proceeded to unzip his fly, take his penis out and urinate. I ran into the nearest cubicle and locked myself in, my heart pounding in my chest. I reported the incident straight away and was informed, “He was told not to do it again.” I didn’t feel as if it was taken that seriously and I quit my job shortly afterwards as I was scared I might see him again.
As a female in public you must tread a very fine line. If you ignore a guy you are sometimes called a bitch and he might yell abuse. If you are friendly, a man will often think you want to have sex with them. Even when you politely but firmly decline there are a lot of men that refuse to take no for an answer and harass you. You only have to look at how Piers fixated on Megan to see how some men think it’s acceptable to chase and harass women who aren’t interested.
On social media there many incidents of men sending unsolicited dick pics and if they don’t receive an answer, or indeed the answer they expected and felt entitled to, they quickly turn abusive, using words like ‘slag’ ‘bitch’ ‘whore’ and ‘c*nt” all because you didn’t give them special treatment. I have brought this topic up in the past, many stayed silent and didn’t acknowledge what I had said, but there were also retorts of “What do you expect working in your industry?”. In other words, they are saying if you are in the sex industry whether you are a model, a stripper, a dominatrix, an escort or a cam girl then you should expect to be sexually abused, harassed and stalked. I also had a driving instructor say to me, “That girls skirt is so short, and women complain about being raped!” I very nearly did an emergency stop, but I managed to keep my cool and found another instructor. These aren’t even isolated comments. You don’t need to look on an Incel board to find these kind of statements, just look on Facebook and see how many men are happy to publicly make sexist comments. SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE IN SOCIETY.
The streets simply aren’t safe for women, and even the online world can be a minefield with lots of risks. Often the work place does little to safeguard female employees and as a woman who has been in abusive relationships, even my home wasn’t safe for me. In my 20’s I had an ex who came around to collect his things when I finished with him and he forced sex upon me. He cyber stalked me for 6 months, even turning up at my place of work with my dead dogs ashes and dumping the box in my arms in front of everyone. I eventually implored his Father (who was a policeman) to make him leave me alone. Luckily it worked.
Another ex partner drugged me to try and keep me subdued and another lived off me parasitically, extorted money out of me, and used intimidation techniques such as raging, blocking my entrance to leave, and smashing the house up. He would rage and tell me to leave, then threaten to kill himself if I left. He would also grab knives from the block and threaten me, then when I was upset and said I’d call the police, he’d get angry and state that I couldn’t “take a joke!” Yeah, because it’s so normal to intimidate your partner with big sharp knives! That was sarcasm by the way – there’s always one!
I am not journaling about these things because I want or expect any sympathy. Far from it, I have been on a healing journey of self discovery and have learned enough about my own psychology and others to ensure I avoid controlling and manipulative men in relationships. However, my point is that I, just one women has been subjected to various acts of violence and assault from multiple men. I am just a drop in the ocean compared to the millions of women that suffer each year. Statistics from Rape Crisis show that every year, roughly 85,000 women (compared to 12,000 men) experience either rape, attempted rape or sexual assault (by penetration) in England and Wales. Based on those figure, someone is being subjected to a sex crime hourly! When you look at it the facts and statistics you start to see how terrifying the numbers are and why women are scared to walk alone in public.
I can’t stress enough that not all men are abusive or perpetrators of sex crimes. There are millions of men who are wonderful people and are supportive of all women. But let me ask you a question and please think about this honestly. When a friend of yours gets too hands-on with a female who isn’t interested, do you speak up or stay silent? Have you ever turned a blind eye to a sexual assault in public or at work? This includes bottom patting and uninvited touching. For things to really change we need to ensure society is educated and that involves vocalising the issue and calling people out if they engage in this behaviour.
It doesn’t matter whether you have a mother, a daughter, a sister or a niece, if you are a decent human being you should understand that its unacceptable to hurt another person, and that any kind of violence against women whether physical, or psychological should be called out and dealt with.
Violence against women must end.