Survival

Hi,

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.

L x

8 Comments

  1. Lovely to see you really angry Lynn. This is a big issue worldwide. And male privilege is alive and well and invisible to most of those who have not the advantage of also being able to peer at life from a female position.
    One advantage of being trans or whatever.
    Yes it allows us to champion the right of half the population to be as safe as the male half. It also allows us to be able to educate our kids (and grandkids) from our perspective on acceptance, equality and fairness. And to be that positive role model for them.
    All the other outrage you mention, comes from being able to further examine the veil of privilege more broadly. And be that most insightful of parents who can teach your children that this fairness, this safety, this fair go applies to everyone. Everyone. Always. Refugees, unemployed, rich, poor.
    I wouldn’t call myself a raging royalist but this outlook of fairness could even encourage fairness in examining the current issue with Harry and Meghan and the Palace members. Who’s right? How could I know? So don’t jump in to take sides. Observe privilege on steroids at work there. Feel pity for everyone involved.
    A long way from looking through the trans lens and lifting the shades of male privilege but being quite serious, we have an insight not available to everyone which hopefully can be used to make things better for all.

    1. I am deeply frustrated that there’s band of toxic behaviour that puts women at risk and, frankly, spoils things for the rest of us. I would much prefer a world were my female relations can enjoy the same things as me. A walk after dark, not looking over their shoulder while filling the car, etc; just being able to live without fear. To live in fear, what an awful experience and we must do our best to stop it.

      As to male privilege, listening to trans men at the group was eye-opening. The sharp difference they had on moving from female to male was incredible. I think it would do a few male leaders good to spend an hour with our trans guys over a cup of tea and hear them talk about their experiences.

      Ignoring the moral reasons for a moment, I wonder how much time has been lost, the cost to productivity, and damage to mental health there’s been by allowing this abuse to go on.

  2. Just before I read this post from you Lynn, I came across this in a post in Facebook
    ” Every woman you know has taken a longer route.
    Has doubled back on herself.
    has pretended to dawdle by a shop window.
    Has held keys in her hand.
    has made a fake phone call.
    Has rounded a corner and run.
    Every woman you know has walked home scared.

    Every woman you know.”
    https://www.facebook.com/EmilyDavsionCentre/photos/a.192206664724092/775530706391682/

    My sister, my mother, L. More than half of my friends and work colleagues. Every woman I know.
    It’s right to be angry. To be outraged. To be fearful, for ourselves and those we know and love, and know that this unacceptable and needs to be stopped.

    1. Thanks Susie. As you say, it’s unacceptable and needs to be stopped.

      Mrs J and I were talking about this on our long walk and I think we all need to step up on getting involved and telling men it’s not okay to touch or say certain things. The next time I hear someone whining about education or “being woke”, I’ll ask, “so, what you’re saying is it’s okay not to teach men how to behave and therefore it’s okay to perpetuate the abuse and danger for your female relations, yeah?” 😔

      The radio was on while I waited for a prescription and there was a news report about expanding the kerb crawling offence to include abusers following a woman and yelling at then from their vehicle.

  3. I know how my own behaviour changed once I started walking as a woman, especially after dark. It was just instinctual, self-preservation. Male bahaviour has worsened these last few years as the overarching xenophobia of current political trends takes a grip.

    I would just add that women themselves are not necessarily helping here. I am dismayed by the number of cis women I still hear just shrugging and saying “well, boys will be boys, it’s just the way it is”. And let’s face it, a number of trans women also think that women should still have a lesser, subordinate role.

    Sue x

    1. I think allowing the behaviour through those old phrases doesn’t help and perhaps the climate of “it’s okay to discriminate about X” is equally unhelpful. Is the latter like a small fire in a dry forest? It spreads through society, gathering pace, unchecked and widening, until, unless you’re the fire, everything is up for being burned.

      I think COVID19 may help people realise that this ‘us’ is a highly tangled web of interdependence and getting rid of the ‘them’ is an easy statement to make and one with very serious and sometimes unknowable repercussions.

      When it comes to positive change, I think it’s important to tread carefully and be prepared to flex as new information comes to light. I’d be wary of folk who want to sell you idea of something as a quick win. Often it’s quite a bit more involved. 🙂

  4. This is an incredible insight that a trans woman, crossdresser or even dragqueen can have, I mean, experiencing the suffering of women. It is really scary to stop, think and realize that the notions that men harass and women protect themselves as best they can have been sedimented.
    Another interesting question is how, in fact, some women (whether cis or trans) end up normalizing this behavior from men as well. Sis, male privilege exists and the struggle of women is still lasting.
    By the way, as the post says, the struggle of trans women is even more complicated because when they pass as women they suffer as cis women, and when they don’t, they suffer for being trans.

    1. Thanks Jessa. It’s a complicated situation and my thoughts are that we as a wider society would benefit from a the perpetrators of abuse stopping.

      I find it baffling to think of the opportunities lost to around 50% of humanity because it’s not safe for them to be out at a certain time. That’s before we get to the impacts of being talked over, ignored, overlooked, etc.

      I am hoping, as with Black Lives Matter and MeToo, that this groundswell of “this is our experience” and why it’s not okay, that those unaffected will start to change their views. If we all spoke out or stepped up, think of the difference we could make.

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