How many times have you held your keys between your fingers in a clenched fist as you walk home at night?
It doesn’t even have to be the night. It can be evening. Morning. In the middle of the day.
Being a woman in this world we naturally feel frightened as we walk alone. And we are not born with that fear, we are forced into being alert, and with that, we feel fear.
Not only have I gotten paranoid by the countless of horrific rape scenes, murder stories and physical and mental abuse portrayed in movies and series, but these things are rife in real life too. We all know someone who has been subjected. Maybe that someone is you. And you are not alone.
How many times have you walked home pretending to talk on the phone so that you would appear to be connected so that if something was to happen, someone would know straight away?
Have you, like I, kept an open geo tracker on yourself and your friends as you parted ways and updated each other when you got home?
Have you, like I, taken a photo of the taxi driver’s license and license plate and shared it with your friends, shared your route and updated someone as to when you did actually get home?
What about those times I was ‘unruly’ and a boyfriend shoved me up a wardrobe or threw me down forcefully at a bed?
How about those times a boyfriend raised his fist to indicate that if I didn’t do as he said he could hit me?
What about that time a man punched a whole in the wall when we were arguing?
And that time a man hovered above me in a bar stating that he would ‘have his way with me tonight’ - and I had not as much as looked at him before?
Or that night at a house party a man pulled my hoop earring so that my ear tore and bled all over my shoulder and dress - because I didn't want to fck him?
What about those countless ass grabs, breast caresses and arm pulls as I’ve walked through a crowded bar - sometimes in a short skirt and heels, sometimes in baggy pants and boots, sometimes in a ball gown and kitten heels - it truly doesn’t matter - what about those times?
And what about that gut-wrenching call that morning when my friend told she had been raped by a man we knew?
What about that time a man sat down a few metres away from me at a beach when I was the only one there - and he started masturbating?
Or that time when a man wanted to purchase me from my father, offering up camels and Lamborghinis in return? I was 12.
What about that time I was doing my make-up to attend a wedding and my boyfriend pulled my chair so that I fell and hit my head in the marble floor?
Or when later that night he shoved me from his lap so that I flew a couple metres out in the sand?
How about those countless times I have felt followed as I walk home? The millions of extra and faster steps I’ve taken to avoid groups of men? The sped up heartbeats as someone in the streets start calling me or driving by me slowly as they howl and whistle?
Or that time my friend was threatened by a man that he would burn her house down when she was asleep. ensuring her he would start by her daughter's room so that she could not be saved?
NONE OF THIS IS OK.
AND NONE IF IT IS MY FAULT. AND NONE IF THIS IS YOUR FAULT.
We need to do better. So much better.
Photo: Hannah Ball Photography
Location: El Matador Beach, CA