Day after day after day.
Abusive messages, rape threats, threats of violence or death.
Sexist remarks, cat calling, insults shouted out of car windows, ‘compliments’ shouted in the street.
Sexually explicit comments and suggestions in pubs, in bars, in cafes, in clubs, at gigs, in the street.
Women are battling all the time to cope with it. To cope with the fear, the dread, the anxiety and panic it causes us. Trying not to internalise the insults, to remain calm & not blame ourselves. To not believe what they say, to convince ourselves that it’s not true, that no one is really coming for us, no one would do that. Would they?
But they do.
We are stalked, verbally abused, beaten, smacked, punched, slapped. We are harassed, groped, pushed, pulled, cornered.
Women are so tired. Tired of putting up with this. Tired of ignoring it, minimising it, laughing it off, pretending we don’t live in a frightening place all the bloody time.
We’re tired of risk assessing. Checking where we park our car, checking if it’s safe to walk along the road, checking who’s around, who’s behind us, in front of us.
Can we go for a run? Will we get harassment? Can we go for a drink? What shall we wear that doesn’t draw attention to us? What shoes shall we wear in case we need to run?
It’s constant. Every bloody day. A never ending stream of shit.
Women are stupid, brainless, worthless, inadequate, unimportant, useless.
Women can’t do maths, are no good at science, don’t have logical brains, don’t understand politics or economics, can’t talk about football or sports.
Women are good for cooking, cleaning, giving birth, looking after kids.
Women are good to look at. Breasts are there for groping (don’t breast feed in public), bodies are there for shaming.
But it’s ok. If you’re on twitter, use the block button. Lock your account.
Facebook? Block. Go private.
Don’t use Ask FM, don’t give your email out, don’t use forums where men might target you. Don’t encourage them, don’t give them an excuse, don’t let them hurt you.
Report it to the police. They’ll help. But they don’t. We don’t get help or support or taken seriously.
“Nothing we can do. You need to protect yourself.”
So we don’t report it. And it goes on.
Don’t run at night. Don’t run on a main road. Don’t go for a walk on your own. Don’t wear anything that might instigate abuse. Don’t make eye contact. Watch where you’re going, head down. Avoid places or situations where there might be drunk men. Drive with your doors locked, don’t stop for anyone. Make sure you have enough petrol. Keep your phone charged.
Sit near a door, keep your car keys handy, make sure there are no barriers to you getting away. Don’t walk home alone. Don’t catch a taxi you don’t know.
Don’t challenge, don’t argue, don’t raise your voice. Watch your language, your manners, your attitude.
Shut the fuck up.
Don’t drink too much, don’t leave your drink where you can’t see it. Don’t eat too much. Maintain your figure so it’s pleasing to men. Don’t have your hair too short in case people think you’re a lesbian.
Be feminine. Wear make up & pretty clothes. Smile. Don’t be angry.
Enjoy sex, but not too much. Don’t refuse sex. Shave your body hair. Everything must be smooth.
Don’t be sexy. Except when they want you to be sexy. Pose in your underwear to show how empowered you are. Celebrate your body; as long as your body fits the patriarchal fuckability test. Over a size 14? Shame yourself. Cellulite? Shame yourself. Don’t go to the gym? Why don’t you look after yourself? Don’t you care about your appearance? Tone up for summer! Tone up for the beach! Lose weight for Christmas, New Year, spring, summer, autumn. Lose your baby weight! Follow X’s diet! Lose weight fast!
Because you’re just not good enough as you are.
How dare they do this to us? How dare they police us, and shame us and dictate to us?
HOW FUCKING DARE THEY??