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i won’t sit down and i won’t shut up;

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.

About Lis Ferla (1536 Articles)
Lis: Writer - Photographer - Muso - Traveller - Waffler. Baked goods, Springteen and excellent shoes. Famous on the internet since 1999. Last Year's Girl is not a music blog, although you wouldn't believe that from the way I carry on. So if you've got something you think I should hear, get in touch!

9 Comments on i won’t sit down and i won’t shut up;

  1. <3

    Yeah, it was fucking shit (I can only speak for the first time, obviously). I mean, there were loads of them and only two of us, and we were clearly incapacitated (which DOES NOT mean we were drunk). I wouldn't have told that little scrote to "fuck off and die" if I hadn't already been in a horrendous mood, but I thought the fact that they had a female friend in their group might have counted in our favour, that she might have told her mate to shut up and stop harassing us. They had no right. We were clearly upset and just trying to get home.

    And yes, the piss-taking and "banter" happens while you're trying to manouvre your way past them on a busy pavement, but the actual rape threats don't come until you're halfway down the street. Fucking cowards. (I won't say I wasn't scared, though; if they'd really wanted to attack us, we'd have been the easiest type of prey. Thank fuck we only had a few more yards to walk to the safety of my front door.)

    And then I thought I'd cheer myself up by catching up on Coronation Street, not knowing there's been a fairly harrowing rape storyline happening in the last couple of weeks. Nice move, Sarah.

    I hope you're ok love. We just put up with this shit, don't we? You've got to put your head down and get on with it, or if you stand up to them you're only increasing your chances of getting your head kicked in and possibly worse. So you just get on with it. Who needs feminism indeed.

    xxx

  2. This. Exactly this. I am always being told I ‘shouldn’t cause a fuss’ when I stand up for myself or other people. YES I SHOULD, or they think it’s ok to do it, and it’s not ok. Not at all.

  3. I know, but what can you do? I hate the fact that the best outcomes in these situations always seem to happen when you’ve got a male friend with you. If they tell them to back off, they back off. If *you* tell them to back off, you’re basically asking for it in the eyes of the public. Shameful.

  4. Behaviours like this are unacceptable.

    Particularly because I would assume status is a large part of it. Men like this think that talking shite to women makes them look better in front of other men. It has to stop.

    These are exactly the kinds of fights that need to be picked. A campaign for public transport, maybe?

  5. Having been the lost one…I thank you, and I so hear this. Sober, I hear it.

  6. Preach, sister! It may be to the choir, but your choir is here to listen, rest assured.

  7. Hello! I came here from a link on http://stronginwill.wordpress.com/2011/09/30/feministfriday-myths/ and saw this and thought of this post http://tigerbeatdown.com/2011/10/11/on-blogging-threats-and-silence/#more-3994

    You’re right and there’s a horrible amount of it about :(

    • I read that post this morning. Love that site.

      Of course it’s a bugger we have to keep speaking out about things like this but I’m so proud to be one of the ones who will “not shut up”.

      Thanks for stopping by x

  8. I was so upset that this happened to you, LYG. But, yes, who needs feminism? We have the vote, right? So what if someone shouts, “show us yer tits”? We should do as we’re told and get a sense of humour while we’re at it.

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  3. look what you started, i seem to be coming out of my skin; /  [last year's girl]

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