My night started as it usually does – what shall I wear? Argh. The right mix of attractive but not sexy, to feel good about myself but not to draw attention. It’s a fine balance apparently. And you know, going to see a band you are going to keep it pretty casual. Right ready to go. It’s 7pm. It’s daylight. I park the car at the top of town and walk in to meet my friends. Uh oh. The split second of anxiety in your gut as you see a group of about half a dozen guys in your path, fancy dress, stag do most likely. They are at the cash machine. I should probably cross the road. But it’s daylight, it’s 7pm and it’s my hometown. I don’t need to cross the road or feel intimidated. “Slut.” The murmour of a word catches my attention. “Sorry, what did you just say?” I ask them repeatedly. “Nothing, I didn’t say anything.” One replies. “He called you a slut!” The sting of one little word that probably meant nothing to him. “Banter”. Well he obviously doesn’t know what it feels like to be objectified and intimidated. I’m reeling and I want to get away from them. I check my reflection in the mirror. Was my lipstick too red? My hair too blonde? No, I do not feel ashamed or embarrased about myself, I feel F**king. Angry. And yet once the anger subsided I was afraid to return to my car alone later that night. Having grown up in a society where cat-calling has until recently been socially acceptable and very common I have a sense of what clothes I know draw attention to me and those that don’t. And I suppose after 14 years of that (i’m 28) I was massively caught off guard that night. It was a small, drunk slight that doesn’t compare to the devasting and life-changing acts of sexual assault and rape that are committed against women every day. But it does expose a rape culture in our nightlife and particularly stag dos, where it’s apprently ok to call a total stranger a sexually explicit name. Someone said to me if you wouldn’t want it to happen to your daughter then it is not acceptable that it happened to you. I wouldn’t want it to happen to my son either. So I am calling it out. And I hope that this encourages other people to do the same.
First of all, look out for those inherently/ subconsciously sexist people, who proclaim vigorously that rape culture does not exist, despite there being an environment where women are objectified and have their traumatic experiences viewed with indifference. Secondly, don’t worry; sexists will be punished due to karma under God, no matter what the Bible states. God is fair toward everyone and there will be justice. Moreover, always speak up whenever you receive any sort of sexist remark; don’t let it normalize any further, and please try to re-educate those who are sexist.