My original idea for the second post on this blog was around dating, dating as in wtf happened to my life/this guy obviously sent me pics of Channing Tatum. However, a case which dominated the news recently stirred me up enough that I had to write this instead.
This was much more than a sexual assault case, this was more than some privileged young man, this was more than a light sentence , this IS 2016.
Social media erupted in disgust when the case of a student who was handed a 6 month sentence for sexual assault was suddenly plastered all over the world . At the time, I gasped in disbelief and anger after reading more into this case and other various articles including a letter penned by the victim herself. Observing how the general public viewed this was reassuring in terms of the world is not COMPLETELY f*cked yet as the general consensus was fury, how can such an ugly crime attract less time than it takes to go through a full term pregnancy? However, there were a few keyboard warriors who slurred comments suggesting it was the victims fault or how the perpetrator was such a nice guy …… take a breath everybody.
Focusing on this case would be giving the perpetrator more of a persona than the victim and frankly fuck that. We may not be able to influence the outcome of this case but we can talk about the current state of play on a day to day level.
A few months ago I had a conversation with a taxi driver. As much as I love pizza a bit too much and go to the gym for roughly a week every 6 months, I usually walk a fair bit. On occasions where I have been out late and get the train home I will get a cab instead of walking to my place. On this night I jump in the cab, tell the driver where I am headed and he laughs. I screw my face up because I literally have no filter and he says WOW that’s a short trip, you could easily walk that.
My arms tensed, I paused for a second and said yeah, of course I COULD walk it but I am female, I am on my own and its after midnight. The driver continued to mutter on about it, I stopped listening, he clearly did not grasp why I wouldn’t just walk.
This dialogue stuck with me, I felt pissed off at the time then wondered should I have just walked? Was I being precious?
In my younger years I used to walk past a building site to get to work, always swarms of young lad’s fannying about, stinking of Lynx Africa (you all had it). I was always uneasy during this section of the walk and generally kept my head down with my earphones in. One delightful baltic day one of said Lynx Africa abusers shouts “OI, nice legs, shame about the face!” I had a million come backs ringing through my head , one involving how the closest thing he would ever get to being laid would be if somebody climbed in through his bedroom window to escape the police and accidently fell on top of him( I grew up in Scotland-it’s feasible) . I said nothing, I kept walking, I can’t even remember if I was upset, I just remember thinking oh well that’s normal and moved on.
Most women would probably attest to feeling a bit edgy walking past groups of men. I put the question to you, Is it a guy thing so we should just get on with it? The answer is no, not ever, this is not a guy thing this is being a bit of a cockwomble thing. These “men” –I will use that term loosely, may think that shouting something at a girl is hilarious, you might think trying to grope her on a crowded train is taking one for the team, you might think that because she has had a few drinks its fair game. Well it’s not, the same way it’s not ok for somebody to beat the shit out of you because you’re drunk, did you ask for the fight? Nope, well that girl didn’t ask for your advances or degrading “banter” – if you managed to douse yourself in Lynx Africa to go out and not smell it surely you can manage this.
I have to be clear that violence against any gender by any gender is never ok and although this blurb of writing may not change the attitudes or actions of a minority it might give somebody a laugh, force brothers to pick up their annoying sisters from the train station at night or trigger further discussion- all of which are good!
Lastly, to the ladies, remember your hairspray, to keep those locks looking gorgeous and the other use for which I am probably not allowed to advertise on here…….
If you want to find out more about a charity who campaign to prevent men’s violence against women please take some time to look up White Ribbon.