I’m finding it increasingly harder and harder to write stories about women who constantly live in fear and must watch their back all the time.
Stories about women who must bend over backwards to prove that they did nothing to “encourage” being stalked, attacked or followed.
Stories about women who are being lambasted for coming forward now, when they should have done so years ago.
And stories about women who are victimised, ostracised and made to feel like speaking up is nothing but a way of “damaging” the reputation of “good” men.
I also acknowledge that my anger, helplessness and mental exhaustion about writing and telling these women’s stories is nothing compared to the ghosts that haunt these women every day.
We who haven’t experienced this, have the privilege of checking out and taking a breather from these whenever we need to.
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Those who live this nightmare live with the trauma 24/7.
If you’ve been following the news lately, you’ll have recently witnessed the case against US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in which the remarkable Dr Christine Blasey Ford testified in an emotional hearing that had people all over social media empathising and pouring out their whole-hearted support for her.
Kavanaugh, who was present at the hearing, along with a panel of strong supporters (all male, all white and all republican), is facing allegations of sexual assault. Dr Ford testified around these allegations, speaking about her experiences of being assaulted by him at a house party during the 1980s.
Many have described her testimony as dignified and heartbreaking – with readers pointing out how extra polite she is by resorting to “good girl” language. Kavanaugh on the other hand behaved like a spoilt, boorish brat and is being praised for it.
You can already see how this narrative is going to play out, can’t you? I mean we want to believe that justice is served, but she’s already been doxed, was forced to move homes and has received death threats.
And if people already don’t believe women who speak up, what happens to those who feel they need to upload proof that they’re being harassed, stalked or assaulted?
In a recent case, a young woman from New York, named Alexa, recently uploaded a thread on Twitter which went viral, Buzzfeed.com reports.
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The thread goes into disturbing detail about how she when she arrived at the lobby of her apartment, she had the feeling that she wasn’t alone. In her tweets, she posts footage of how, while she’s on her way to her apartment, a man is shown a few steps behind her.
She was thankfully very alert to her surroundings and after checking the lobby several times, something which may have ultimately saved her life in the long run, because her vigilance about her surroundings led to him noticing that he wasn’t as circumspect as he was hoping to be.
She tweets that when he noticed that there were surveillance cameras, he put his arm over his eyes but still tries to get in the door. When he fails to get inside the actual building, he eventually leaves.
Alexa immediately called the cops, who thankfully responded and arrived minutes later.
You can read the full thread here
While she hasn’t been harmed in the process, she said that it did get her thinking about all the ways in which it could have gone wrong and how it’s always on the woman to ensure that everything she does, she needs to do for her safety.
And that even arriving or being at home means that you can’t let your guard down.
What was so sobering for me though, is the way in which she starts her thread. She feels that she has to clarify and be apologetic when she posts her thread. “It’s not for attention” is a heart-breaking reminder that when we speak up, even with proof, we’re still somehow being made to feel bad for daring to even be out and about.
And still questioned on whether we're being truthful.
What a safe world we live in.