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I’m sick of these allegations. I’m sick of hearing claims of abuse and assault. I’m sick of it because it never seems to end. Women and girls taken advantage of, belittled, abused, assaulted and then the world accuses them of lying, when they’re brave enough to speak out… I’m sick of it.
Every woman I know has a story that sounds familiar. The lingering and inappropriate touch of a boss, the need to be constantly vigilant of your drink when you’re out because your friend’s was spiked last month, the cat-calls in the street that make you grip your keys, pointy end through the spaces in your knuckles, that little bit tighter. The uncomfortable situations some men feel they’re entitled to put you in where you don’t know where to go or what to say or do.
Every woman I know has had to live in this casual rape culture that society has perpetuated in this shit-storm of a world. There is an inevitable fear that soaks into your mind after something has happened. Fear of being dismissed because you spoke out against a co-worker groping you in the cool room. Fear of being laughed at or not believed when you speak up about the grossly sexualised “banter” being thrown across the lunchroom. Fear of getting thrown out of the club for intoxication when you scream at and push the pervert away that keeps trying to stick his fingers into you. The guilt you feel when the man who is supposed to be your teacher is reprimanded for inappropriate conduct with students, and you feel like you had maybe overreacted, or misread the situation – fear you may be the one blamed for his actions.
Massively influential celebrities, actors, festival organisers, comedians, producers, bands. It’s like the thought process of taking what you want with no regard of another human is actually a toxic virus, seeping into the day to day lives of men who think they can take and take.
More women are coming forward each day, and more and more I see why it is we fear to tell. They’re dangled in front of the ravenous crowd on Facebook and or Twitter with users that seem to be just waiting to tear their accusations to shreds. They relive the absolute worst of their memories every time they have to type or speak about what happened and then they get called liars, groupies, sluts. And this hurts those who read these comments as well. For if they can’t be believed then what chance have the rest of us? This is why we don’t come forward; this is why sometimes it takes years for these things to come to light.
These are bands that one might used to have admired, danced to, had their lyrics tattooed on your skin. These are celebrities we laughed alongside and it gets tiring when each day another person you looked up to is exposed as the filth they are. It’s tiring reading their apologies, their shifts of blame onto another, their excuses. It’s even more frustrating when they admit they’re at fault and people still blame the victim, because the accused is famous, admired or hides behind flimsy, self serving bullshit.
I have a sex addiction.
I thought she was of age.
I knew they wanted me, so I took advantage of that.
Excuses. Maybe one day, these excuses will be the cinch that let’s them back into the privileged circle of media and attention. Maybe in 6 years Weinstein will be back. He’s been to rehab, he is so sorry and now he wants his place in high society back again. It’s all okay now. It’s just like Chris Brown, his crimes swept under the increasingly crowded domestic violence rug and smoothed out with money and time.
But the women that are hurt and living with the consequences of these men’s actions, they’ll never just be okay.
If everyone stopped and actually listened to others they might learn that there are more people than you know living with the consequences of sexual assault and then maybe you will be as sick of this as I am, and start helping those speaking up. Believe them, don’t dismiss their voices. Sometimes it’s all they have.