Be young and shut up

A blog about student activism.

Yes, I have thought about the fact that I might get raped in London

with 2 comments

Trigger warning: this post discusses sexual violence

I was given a fucking pink polkadot ‘personal alarm’ that emits a ‘female scream’ sound when activated. No. Do not want.

About a year ago there were some connected stranger rapes in Edinburgh and some friends in a well-meaning way asked me to call them when I got home and things like that. I didn’t appreciate that either.

The thing is that I am fully aware of the fact I might be raped – much more likely to be a partner than a stranger, but still – and I have been followed home, stalked, groped generally terrified by a variety of vile men. I AM AWARE OF THIS BEING A THING.

I don’t want people telling me how to run my own life, how to protect myself or generally what’s ‘best’ in this regard. I find it incredibly triggering and upsetting. The most personal aspect of my life is how I deal with the threat of sexual violence in my life, it has to be my choice, and no one else’s.

I genuinely think it contributes to blame culture because it’s saying it’s a potential victim’s responsibility to ‘take care’ or whatever bollocks. I respect other people’s choices in terms of doing what they think is best for them or what makes them feel safe but what others do does not necessarily work for me.

As far as I’m concerned, if someone strong and reasonably clever wants to rape me they probably will. I take ‘precautions’ like sticking to busy streets, but even busy streets have side alleys and can be quiet at 2am. But I will not stop living my life the way I want to live it because of this – perhaps I am lucky to think like that. But I will still walk about at night on my own and do what the fuck I feel like doing.

Secondary rant about unwanted physical contact

I also find unwanted/forced/blackmailed physical contact triggering and if I say no to a hug it’s because I have personal space ‘issues’ relating to a few people in my past’s lack of respect for my bodily autonomy.

This is another thing that people feel they have a right to criticise you for but should absolutely be under one’s own control and choice.

Everyone who lives in fear of sexual violence will inevitably work out what the best ways are for them in terms of what compromises they are prepared to make or what streets they will walk down or whether or not they carry an alarm. Those choices must be respected otherwise we belittle the agency of victims, survivors and anyone else who lives in fear.

Advertisements

Written by CakeCakeCakeCakeCake

November 24, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Have you heard they anecdone by Charlotte Perkins Gilman…turn of the century feminist?

    She was at a party one night, and a man tried to insist on walking her home, saying that she should not go unaccompanied,and that he would go with her because he was her “natural protector”

    She replied that it was not only a woman’s right but a woman;s duty to walk alone at night, for the thing that she fears most is meeting “her natural protector”. Its one of my favourite quotes. Women on the streets at night make the streets safer for women at night.

    There is also a study from the US I think, that suggests that if you are attacked on the streets at night, you should never shout “rape”, as bystanders will avoid because they dont know what to do, you should yell “fire” instead because they recognise that you need help and the “script” for dealing with a fire is more familiar, so they are more willing to intervene.

    mhairi

    December 16, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    • Oh, but never, never, never get into a moving car. I made this mistake once lost in London and facing a long walk home in an unfamiliar area.

      I really really thought I was going to end up dead. In the end all was fine but I still have no idea whether his detailed descriptions of how women who get into strangers cars met their end was incredibly tactless smalltalk, some kind of twisted pleasure or an attempt to scare me into never doing it again.

      mhairi

      December 16, 2012 at 7:42 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: