It’s taken me a long time to sit down and write this.
I read a great story, well written and very descriptive of how this type of thing feels, about an experience of harassment that a woman endured publicly.
I asked about this on social media some time ago, and only three women had the courage to reply that they had experienced something similar. As a woman, in South Africa, I would have to say that EVERY woman in my country has experienced this kind of thing at least once. I would hazard a guess that they would say repeatedly. It’s par for the course that men feel entitled to enter a woman’s space psychologically, emotionally or physically without invitation or consent.
In fact, it is not only their “right” to enter a woman’s space any way they see fit at any time… it is how a normal, virile man is taught to behave.
This overstepping of boundaries even happens on first dates. I’ve arrived to meet a male person for a first date and they, almost every time, give me a brazen once over from the tip of my head to my unpainted toenails. I have even had one gorgeous and educated man comment that he could not see my body beneath the soft, flowing jersey that I am most comfortable wearing, precisely because of this kind of behaviour.
It’s kinda outrageous and undoubtedly disrespectful, but it’s accepted as entirely normal.
I’ve had many moments of harassment in my time. Some really frightening. Some physically violent. Threats. A couple of beatings. A rape. And more.
I’m not here to talk about my experience as a survivor. I know that most women would be able to post a #metoo in some form or another, sadly.
Thing is, most of them will not.
I’m here to say that the ongoing bullshit of some men is just as much due to the behaviour of women. I’m sick and tired of hearing us complain when, once again, few of us are ready to sacrifice anything to change the status quo.
Yes — you read that right. This mess is women’s fault as well, and every woman that wants this stuff to shift needs to be fully accountable for their part in it.
Let me share that I have recently spent two years in a family court system to try and get an extremely airtight and low contact parenting plan ordered, with a dangerous and abusive man. I have written a bit about the experience and no longer want to go over it much. I’m trying to heal because it left me with Post Traumatic Stress that has taken over a year and a half to “fix”. (I’m not sure I will ever be quite the same again after what I saw and heard in those halls of “justice”)
Suffice to say that the WORST culprits on my case, in my family and in my social circle, who were responsible for both re-traumatising me as a “victim”, shaming me as “victim”, furthering the abuse by the system and actually colluding with and assisting the abuser… WERE WOMEN.
The story below that I read was, really, marvellously written. Emotional tugs and moral outrage the whole read through. She describes exactly how it feels to go through something like this, and the fear and being socially paralysed because of programming that, often, leaves one with an even greater amount of trauma than the actual incident.
To feel this kind of powerlessness stays with a person for a very, very long time.
But what I was left thinking at the end her story was…
There must have been women on that train as well…