It’s her own fault…

opinion piece

I recently read a blog post from an anonymous female who had been raped. It was such a powerful blog post, it reduced me to tears; not only that, it reiterated through my mind for the rest of the day. Until it pushed e to a point where I thought, people need to be aware of this. It struck a chord because actually some of the scenarios she described are what women are expected to go through without question.

I’ll give you a personal example; this is rather shocking and morbid, nevertheless if it helps raise awareness I’m willing to share the story.

I was 17, maybe 18 when I decided to first start taking driving lessons. There was a small local driving school which I had decided to use as they were cheaper then the AA.

He seemed rather charming at first. ”C’mon take a seat, don’t be nervous Michelle”. He made a conscious effort to offer me several hot drinks (I had no idea this was a ploy to deliberately ensure I later on needed the toilet), and kept asking if I understood everything he explained. After the lesson as he was driving me home he said he needed to stop at his parents house quickly which was en route. He explained they had gone on holiday and he needed to pick up the post for them. I mean he was a qualified driving instructor for goodness sake, had he just been anyone I wouldn’t have gone in this house.

Initially I said no it’s ok I’ll just wait in the car. But he insisted, and said ”Are you sure? Are you sure you don’t even need to use the toilet at all?” Then I thought, actually I do need the toilet I’ll go really quickly. So I walked in and he led me upstairs, he showed me his old bedroom . To which I politely nodded. When I came out of the toilet he looked like a demon, something had changed in his eyes. ”Can I have a kiss?” he asked, half sounding like he was joking, half sounding angry.

I said ”No, I want to go home now.” At that point I could not have felt more vulnerable I turned to run out the house as I started to think anything could happen to me right now. No-one knew I was in this house.

I turned around to walk down the stairs, but he grabbed and yanked my hair and pulled me back so hard that I didn’t even have time to react.

”I’m just playing with you Michelle, what’s wrong?” He said with a glazed over look in his eyes.

The whole way home was spiked with silence. I didn’t say one word. Call it shock, fear, disgust, anger. I could not breathe one word.

I didn’t tell my parents, I didn’t tell the police. I blamed myself because I willingly went into this strange house with him. But looking back now, I so wish I had reported him because Adam the pervert who is in his mid fourties probably with a wife and several children, is still free now to strike again. And maybe the next victim wouldn’t be as fortunate as me to escape.

There’s a lot to be said from a positive perspective in regards to feminism; we have come a long way since, say, 50 years ago. But in my eyes, there are still some fundamental attitudes which have a long way to go.

Attitudes which we are inherently expected to just sit down and accept; attitudes which are wrong from the get go. And it’s funny that so many men have this attitude, without realising actually a woman raised you. You married a woman, and one day you might have a daughter.

”Boys will be boys”. No, no they will not if you raise them correctly. We have to stop making excuses for sexually forceful behaviour. I’m sure 90 percent of women have experienced a situation where they are saying no, but a man is being persistently forceful. Why can they not respect you saying no? Personally I think there are a number of reasons. One being that for some men it’s not about the sex its about the domination, about seeking an authoritative position as the ”strong alpha-male”. Only he’s willing to do it at our expense. For others,  maybe they are extremely sexually frustrated. Who knows, but the difference between us and animals is that we distinguish between emotions and feelings; and we have this great thing called speech which allows precise expression of thought. So it’s not that difficult to understand someone saying no, and furthermore it’s not even rocket science to have self control to stop.

What’s even more frustrating is the ignorance of some men to try and justify this behaviour. ”But she’s a slag anyway” , ”If you dress like that what do you expect”, ”She enjoyed it though so it’s not rape”. Even if you see a female sauntering down the road butt naked, what does it say about your character if you force someone into doing something against their will. Regardless of what they wear, or their sexual promiscuity. These elements are irrelevant.

Without being too depressing or revealing any details of my personal life; I will confirm that I know people, and I have been in situations as mentioned above several times. It mentally scars you, and that is also why I am able to comment and assume this attitude is so widespread.

I’m not accepting these attitudes and as women we are expected to put up with this, and live with the trauma which we are consequently scarred with after being in situations like these. Everyone needs to be aware of this ignorance and spread the word like wildfire. Because I do not want my daughter to be prematurely sexualised because of misogynistic, forceful attitudes; nor do I want her to be taken advantage of by any male.

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