Catriona

My father would scream at and abuse me, my mother and sister when I was young. He would tell me I was “stupid,” “worthless”, and “could never manage without a man to support me.” Several times as a teenager I had my bum and breasts touched by men in public spaces, like on escalators. Thankfully, it never went further than that. In later years, I had a boyfriend, who repeatedly cheated on me, begged my forgiveness every time, and blamed me for it because I was “depressed” and it was “wearing him down” When I cheated on him once, in retaliation, to show him how it felt, he told all our mutual friends, both male and female, and turned them all against me. Still later, my husband (different man) became an alcoholic, and when I called him out on getting drunk for the umpteenth time in front of our son, he smugly turned round and said “just remember all the times I helped you when you were depressed,” (read: I was depressed but sober.) I had a male boss once who would call women into his office, alone, point out aspects of their personalities that he found to be “substandard”, and use it as a means if belittling them into complying with his arbitrary rules. He would also make sexist and racist comments in the middle of the office, and bully my female line manager into making him coffee, because “what use is a woman if I haven’t got a coffee in front of me?” He also on several occasions implicitly threatened the safety of my family if I said anything about him. I was in a shop once, and the male store clerk counted out the change wrong, and when I politely pointed it out, he said “I didn’t think ladies could count.” Another time, in a shop, a male customer at the next counter said “do you want to pay for my stuff as well?” When I replied, “No,” he said, “Typically, women love spending men’s money, but they won’t share their own.” I also recently found out that a man at my work is paid £6000 a year more than the female colleagues on his team…even his female line manager! Sexism is everywhere, it is in everything, even in men who think they aren’t sexist. They just can’t see it, because privilege is blind.