In the media and online, many women have been sharing their survival techniques when walking alone in public spaces. How is it that it’s 2021 and around half our population do not feel safe when out after dark?
Just last month, my niece was verbally harassed in the street. What type of verbal? Sexual of course by some dirty ****er. She reported it to the Police and the man is now banned from that area of the town. I asked the Ever Lovely Mrs J if she followed the survival rules (she did and still does), even if we live out in the sticks and not in any bustling city. For both of our kids, the local secondary means there’s a lot of teens about. Some young teenagers are want to wear tight clothing and/or very short skirts, but that’s their business. I do not believe that gives anyone else the right to be pervy. A bare midriff or high hemline is not an invitation, it’s just clothing.
I thought back to Mrs J’s words on the experience of trans people – particularly trans women or part timers. “If you pass, you will get hassle as a woman and if you don’t, you’ll get hassle for being trans.” So, damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
I know that when in the rare times I go out in Lynn mode, I’ve thought about things that never cross mind as Richard. How do I hang on to my handbag? What if someone pulls my wig off? Can I run in these shoes? Where should I go if a man follows me? I’ve even thought, what if someone attacks me, how might I fight them off? Some may not like the phrase ‘male privilege’, but whatever you call it, I have it. A work mate will happily go jogging at night because he can, but I know female colleagues who also run, do not.
As a man – even if I’m in the middle gender wise – looking in to this world, it’s…. well, I’m struggling for a word. I’d thought of shocking, but I got used to the constant low threat and it would rumble in my head like a steady, persistent noise that demanded attention. I would be ‘on alert’ when our dressed. Listening for certain types of voice, people running, or avoiding shortcuts that I’d not think twice about in bloke mode. That’s before we get to the question about loos. Would it be safe for me to go into the gents’ looking as a do as Lynn? I don’t mean that from a passing thing, bit in terms of risk. Not only am I going to stand out, but that’ll draw attention, and quite frankly, the risk of violence from certain types of men.
Perhaps the right word is unacceptable. If we were to turn the situation and say a certain group of folk were preying on men walking alone, I feel something would’ve been done.
I feel this is the outcome of a group that’s pushed a discriminatory agenda into British society and if it’s okay to hate immigrants, the “free loaders” on benefits, then is it any surprise that that’s emboldened people to cast scorn and abuse on people of colour, the disabled, certain religious communities, LGBTQ+ folk, and women. It’s love there’s a cascade of punching down and it begins to permeate society like rot.
Perhaps in the ivory towers of some, they do not see what we see, struggle as we do, fear as we do. Perhaps it is time to put our differences aside and push as one to bring about change.
Which brings us to the mixed news around tackling Conversion Therapy. I read the transcript from a selection of MPs of all parties and they spoke with empathy and passion on why we needed to act. It was inspiring to read from representatives from the left to the right, from straight to gay, all agreeing to move this on. Yet, when tasked by that group, those are the top did little more than shrug at the suggestion.
F*** yeah, I am annoyed. 😉 If you have a job to promote equality and help this through governance, if you’re not interested in doing that, why are you taking a wage? Get out of the way and let someone make a difference.
Please, share your stories on social media, talk to the Police, report crimes, and feedback to your MP.