Sunday, 8 June 2014

Is anywhere safe?

 This week, a girl I know posted on Facebook about how she had been harassed while out jogging. She shared her story and provoked strong feminist debate among the comments and it was enlightening to see such passionate feminist views from other women as I often find it difficult to have the same kind of discussions with people I know.

What this brought up for me is the reality of how sexism is still something very real for all women and how it's an issue that still should't be ignored and swept under the carpet. It's something that shouldn't be belittled and shrugged off - because it's a very real problem.

Think about our culture, where a woman has to constantly risk assess her entire life. Do I walk in the dark at night alone? Do I go down my intended pathway when there's a group of men standing there. What do I do if a stranger starts talking to me and I'm alone and isolated? What will people think of me if I wear this dress? How much skin do I show? Do I turn this man down gently or firmly? Will he take the hint? How do I get this man's hands off me? How much do I drink?

Think about attacks on women. How often have you heard the words…'Why was she walking home alone?' 'What was she wearing?' 'How drunk was she?' - why should these factors even come into play? It's as if a woman must assess what she is doing or risk being to blame for harassment or even rape? At the same time, it provides a poor estimation of men if we assume that they are unable to control themselves around a woman. Many men can and it's the small repulsive few that can't - so please give men more credit than that and don't tar them all with the same brush.

We need to stop making excuses and stop this blame culture that puts it on the woman. Even if a woman has a reputation for being promiscuous, this still doesn't account for her being a victim. No means no - always.

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