I am grateful for campaigns that aim to teach the masses that it’s wrong to prey on other people simply because you can, be it because of social status, mental capacity and reasoning or physical ability. However, the message is still too slow to spread. As I was reading the blog of this very brave woman who has chosen not to remain silent, I am struck by the fact that we women (and girls) have to constantly have a recording running through our heads, and that is, “What can I do to not be attacked?” With what happened to the suffragettes, they had to be aware that simply demanding the right to vote would result in verbal slander, humiliation, beatings and rapes. It was their punishment for being female and wanting to vote. In the present day, we women still have to think about what we can “handle” when we go out into the world – can we handle being verbally assaulted, humiliated, raped or beaten?
Really, the question should be, “Why do we teach men and women that it’s a woman’s fault for being verbally and/or physically assaulted?” If she just would have stayed silent, if she just would have found a man to walk with her, if she just would have stayed inside when it started getting dark, if she just would have had water to drink instead of a cocktail, if she just would have smiled at that man, if she just would have NOT smiled at that man, if she just would have carried a gun, if she would have just taken self-defense classes, if she would just not gone to school…well, the list goes on and on. But where is the recording for those that carry out these acts of violence against women?
Last year the wonderful Suffragette film came out and I would encourage anyone who hasn’t already seen it to do so. It was a wonderful, if at times problematic, portrayal of women’s struggle for the vote.
I have often wondered if I would be strong enough to be part of that movement, particularly if I would be strong enough to undergo force feeding. I am terrible with violence and had to look away during that part of the film and came out an emotional wreck, fortunately I was there with the support of my fantastic feminist society.
During the film the state of constant terror, anxiety and foreboding impressed upon me how horrendous going through that would have been. I am grateful to all those women, their support networks, and the feminists who have followed for carrying the movement so far. I am glad I don’t have that same fight, however…
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