1.the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
1.the state of being safe; freedom from the occurrence or risk of injury, danger, or loss.
What is going on at the moment in the world is so much more than feminism!! It is actually about SAFETY.
In the last 50 days the following has made the papers (note I don't say headlines as most of the articles are buried deep in the paper and are often only seen due to exposure via Social Media sites) :
- 300 young teenage girls kidnapped in Nigeria 50 days ago
- A young 16 year old girl in America asked to leave her prom as the DADS couldn't handle her dress
- Woman stoned to death IN FRONT of the court house in Pakistan - first her family accused, latest reports accuse her husband (who by the way killed his FIRST wife to be with this woman) - the reason why - she married a man she loved and her family didn't approve
- The suitability of Hillary Clinton standing for President in 2016 called into question because she will be a GRANDMOTHER
- 2 young teenage girls raped, tortured, killed and left hanging from tree in India
- Young women targeted by Elliot Rodger because shock and horror no pretty girls would sleep with him
- Pregnant woman forced to give birth while in shackles. Her alleged crime - not being Muslim (her father was born Muslim) - she has been sentenced to death.
Not one of the above acts make me want to be a feminist. They make me want to be safe in a world which is become increasingly UNSAFE FOR WOMEN.
I KNOW there have crimes against men and children in the 50 days (in particular the incident in California) but that is not the point of my blog. I also KNOW not all men are the same as the men who have perpetrated the above crimes. I have wonderful men in my life who I know I never have to fear. This IS NOT man bashing session but hell people somebody somewhere has got to now sit up and say STOP. This has got to stop.
This no longer has anything to with feminism and the call for equality. Women may be allowed to vote, work, decide on their health, future etc but at the very core we are still not safe. Not in our own homes and not when we step out the 'safety' of our homes.
I speak for a lot of women just through my own experiences :
- Being inappropriately groped while in a night-club just because I had on a short skirt at the age of 18
- Cat calling etc while making my way to my office when I worked in the city centre
- An abusive ex husband who demanded sex regardless (not even allowing me the 6 week wait after the birth of my children) and threatened to seek sex elsewhere should I not give in
- The same man expecting sex when and where he wanted it regardless of my feelings
- A friend and photographer I trusted trying to rape me in a public place, managing to back me in my vehicle and leaving me only with my wits to manage to get him off me and out my car and get myself out of there. But yes there was a serious moment when I doubted I would be able to get away safely
- It being assumed I slept my way up the career chain purely based on my looks (tits and arse I think it's called)
- Being groped at a function by a man who simply refused to take no for an answer, not matter how many times or how bluntly I said it - to the point where for a period of 6 months at functions I had to have at least 1 if not 2 other women with me at all times because he would find some way to corner me
- It being assumed that because I indulged in boudoir photography I was offering myself for sex and I should appreciate the attention. The point that I was celebrating the beauty of my body for myself being of no consequence.
Very few of the incidents happened with strangers.... What does that tell you - I am more at risk from a man I know and potentially trust then a stranger I may come across. Yes I'm angry. I'm angry for myself and for all those other women who are too scared to voice their experiences for fear of retribution or because the society they live in is controlled by men who don't allow them a voice.
AND I AM GOING TO SAY THIS AGAIN :
I do NOT hate men :
- I am the mother of 2 sons
- I have a good gentle husband who wouldn't harm me
- I have a loving kind father who always protected me as a child and still does
- I have a lot of male friends I trust and who I know I am safe with
This is not a male bashing session.
But I am tired that I cannot step foot out my door without worrying. I can't go for a walk, go on a photoshoot, walk across a car park, come home after dark, the list is endless, without fear. Fear that a man is going to attack me. Where is the equality when I have to have those fears but men don't? And here I am talking about PERSONAL SAFETY OF MY BODY, not general safety for which we all have to practise care.
If I go out there is usually a list of people I need to let know I've arrived safely - even if I'm just heading out to the shops. For heavens sake my husband only lets me know he's arrived safely if on a long trip - not when he's popped out to get milk from the corner shop. And heaven forbid I don't let people know. The whole police force is likely to be called out.
I'm at a point in my life where I'm desperate for some peaceful quiet time. Where I do literally just want to get in my car, drive until I'm tired and book into a small B&B or the like and not tell a soul. But I can't because too many people will fear I've been hijacked, raped or killed. That isn't fair on my loved ones. It isn't fair on me. Nobody would think twice if a man did it - oh he's probably at the bar with mates or gone fishing would be the response.
Women (and men) need to understand feminism as it was and started is no longer the focus - there will always be a level of inequality. Get used to it. That is simply society and there is a reason why the different sexes are better are different things. I don't want to fix cars, drink beer or stand around the braai. I like being a woman, putting on pretty clothes, wearing my heels, being allowed to sit for hours with my girlfriends drinking tea and chatting.....
The issues is the personal safety of women. The ability to step out our front doors, or come home, without fear of being abused, raped, hit or even killed by our intimate partners or attacked by stranger while out minding our own business.
The focus needs to shift.
Men need to be educated that it is NEVER okay to abuse a woman in any manner.
Women need to educated that it starts with them. It starts with them finding strength to take a stand. As more and more stand together maybe there is a chance things can change.
For now though ladies pick your intimate partners carefully, if you find yourself in an abusive situation get out as soon as it is safe for you to do so, keep pepper spray close at hand when out for a walk and your key between your fingers when you cross an empty parking lot... sad but reality.....
And men if you are that desperate for sex and you have no willing partner take yourself and your hand to the nearest bathroom and take care of your own frustrations!!!!!