We know it is ‘not all men’.
We know that he was a ‘just bad un’ in the Metropolitan Police force.
This is endemic and it has to stop. Politicians have to stop pissing about diluting rights and step up, because the cuts you’ve made to services and the lack of action is causing violence against women worldwide is at a crisis point. But when every single woman you know has either been verbally, physically or sexually assaulted; when do you say – this has to stop?
When it affects your family? Because someone in your family will have already been followed and made to feel uncomfortable when they were out shopping or walking.
When it affects a friend? Because your friend would have already laughed awkwardly at a joke about what they were wearing, saying, doing. When your friend tried to get away because she felt uncomfortable, they would have already been told to ‘lighten up love’ or ‘it might never happen’ or ‘frigid cow, can’t you take a joke?’
When it affects your sister? Because your sister has already been leered at in public. And now arseholes are putting tiny cameras in changing rooms and bathrooms, because leering at us in public isn’t enough for some people.
What about when your daughter has to have a tracking app on their phone active all the time, only wears one earphone, carries her keys in her hand as a weapon. They try not to walk at nigh;, but if they’re on a zero-hour contract and need to eat that week, they might not have the money for the bus if they get called into work a late shift, or the money for a taxi, an uber or a lyft. Even then, they could be locked into the back of the car and taken, drugged, abused, killed.
Please, as a male, link together that when you don’t call out behaviour in a bar, or in a chat group, or online because you are scared about what could happen to you; you have to multiply that fear for being a woman. Multiply that fear again for being a woman of colour. Multiply that fear again by being gender fluid or trans.
Intersectionality is a fairly new concept, but the data points are growing. If you are a straight, white, male, good for you. You’ve hit jackpot in this patriarchal, sexist, racist, misogynistic society. The chances are you are probably teflon coated, because you have an army of cronies who will vouch for your ‘banter’. You probably think the law and rules don’t matter to you, because there are a buffet of people in suits who will line up to defend your actions; while dragging the name, reputation and image of your victim through the mud.
If you’re a person who identifies themself on the LGBTQI+ spectrum, or is a person of colour, anything you do just to live in this world will be taken and used against you. Twisted as being corrupt or harmful to ‘the poor children’. Expressing yourself through make-up, ew! Wearing and having your hair, inappropriate! Falling over and hitting your head on a wall in your cell, you’re drunk and we won’t take adequate care of you; in fact we’ll drag you over your bed by one arm damaging your body further. Rainbows, that is the devils work. We must protect the children!
Although the churches and institutions will close ranks and protect the people in power to protect their reputation first.
It is not all men, but it will take all of us to stand up and call it out. To say ‘that is not ok’ and to be strong, resolute and not back down in the face of adversity. Because, we’re done.
We’re done with this bullshit.
We’re done with women being told what they need to do to protect themselves, instead of men being told to not be arseholes.
We’re fed up of being scared all the time.
We’re tired of being told we need to look like plastic dolls with our hair extended, lips blown up, false nails, fake-tanned orange skin, eye lashes extended, blue-white teeth, dieted to the bone, but with breast and butt implants, and don’t forget your need to draw your eyebrows on if they’re not up to expectations.
I want to go to the gym, do my work out and not be expected to arrive in full make-up. Or to have to fend off people who want to ‘spot me’. Or tell me that I’m doing it wrong, ‘here let me
correct manhandle you’. Or film me.
I want to go for a massage without the workers there having to put signs up asking you to leave your underwear on.
I want to walk listening to an audiobook with headphones in both ears.
I want to feel safe to try clothes on or use a public bathroom, without having to check there’s a camera in the cubicle or hiding under the toilet seat.
I want to run to the shops without make-up on and not be told ‘you like tired today love, have you tried putting some make-up on’.
I want to be able to concentrate on something when I’m at work or out without being told to ‘smile’.
I want to be heard in meetings the first time I speak, not to have what I’ve said repeated later and then agreed upon as a good idea.
I want men to be able to stand up against a bully and be cheered on, not to feel scared that they’re going to get hit, knifed or shot.
I want everyone at any training session or match for any sport who falls over to be able to take note of what happened to them, without being yelled at to ‘get up you girl’.
I want professional male soccer players to stop falling over and pretending they’re hurt to get an advantage. You’ve got enough of an advantage.
I want trans people to be able to compete safely in their chosen sport.
I want men to feel their feelings and be brave enough to ask for help, instead of thinking they need to toughen up.
I want men to do household chores when they see dishes need to be done, not because they’ve been asked to do them. Because you are supposed to be an equal in the relationship, not a delegate.
I want people to be able to trust that if a police officer shows their ID, they know they are in the police force.
I want organisations and politicians to stop hiding their money in offshore accounts, so everyone can afford to go to the doctor, dentist, a good public school.