I never realised, but as a woman I seem to have become psychologically attuned to being spoken to like I’m shit. How else to explain why, the first time ‘it happened to me’ in that I had rape threats yelled at me by a perfect stranger, I had to have it pointed out to me after the fact? My pal could hardly stand up and I wasn’t wearing any shoes, so of course we were drunk and should have been a bit more polite about the advances of a group of guys on the street corner in the ten yards between the club and the flat she was staying in. Anything else is just rude, you fucking slag.
Saturday night in Manchester was a whole bunch of long stories, so it’s not completely surprising that it slipped my mind until it happened again. A little closer to home this time though, because we timed our bus journey wrongly and made the mistake of squeezing on to one that was packed to the gunnels with guys on their way to the match. I don’t mind closing my eyes and willing the football banter away even if I just want a seat at the end of a long day at work, but sometimes there’s only so hard you can bite your lip when you’re stuck on the Happytime Fuckthepope Mega Party Fun Bus.
There are certain situations in which you find yourself without backup. I’ve witnessed First Glasgow drivers ignore somebody getting his head kicked in on the bus from behind the safety of his glass partition, even as glass drips onto the floor, but it’s rare the other passengers stand for it. Nobody seems to care though if you’re labelled a “wee tart” for speaking your mind, even if it’s by the sort of cowardly scrotum sack who won’t do so until he’s getting off the bus and you can’t see his face. Sexually aggressive language has been normalised, so sit down and shut up.
Who needs feminism, eh? We’re doing alright, we are. Let’s just keep our mouths shut and our heads down and don’t get narky when we hear unacceptable language because it’s rude to stare and because in this fucking shithole you never know who’s going to whip out a knife. This is why I don’t let my friends make their own way home when they’re lost. This is why my mum tells me I should be taking taxis everywhere, which I rarely do because they’re expensive and I tend to suffer from a bad case of social anxiety when I’m in the back of a car on my own driven by somebody I don’t know and you know, why should I?
So that was my week. Two lots of rape threats in the space of two days from yobs in two different countries. Something to bear in mind next time you think we’re overreacting about Catwoman with her nips out, lads, or why it’s pretty poor that there aren’t any birds on Mock the Week. I’m alright, as traumas go the first episode of Zooey Deschanel vehicle New Girl was probably worse but it’s still put me in a right mood and it’s probably best not to pick a fight with me this week.
And I know, I know, I’m preaching to the choir here. Nobody is going to comment on this post hoping I get raped (well they might do, but they’ll do so under cover of anonymity so can immediately be discounted). The people I’m aiming this at don’t read Tiger Beatdown, or care about the recommendations of the Davies report. They’re on your buses, in your clubs and on your streets and there’s nothing you can do about it but continue to challenge them and pray to god you don’t get stabbed.