Friday, 12 March 2021

Women being safe from men.

 

This is the current hot topic in our news programmes, following the discovery of a body in Kentish woodland, now identified to be that of a 33-year old woman who'd been missing for several days after failing to return to her home from visiting a friend in South London. She'd been last seen on her homebound 50-minute walk after 9 p.m. some days ago. Two people have been arrested under suspicion, one an acting London police officer (off-duty at the time of the woman's disappearance), the other, his wife, suspected of helping to conceal his involvement, if any, in the crime. The occupation of the person being questioned - already named by most of the tabloids, plus some others - makes the story even more sensational than it otherwise might have been. In addition, there's now the revelation that a very few days before the woman's disappearance this suspect, then in civilian clothes, had been reported by several members of the public for having flashed himself in some fast-food establishment, an investigation of the incident not yet having been followed through. 

Of course the event of a woman going missing, then found having been murdered is, sadly, very far from unusual in any country, but this time it's brought the issue to national consciousness to an extent that we haven't seen for many a year - namely, that we are still living in times when a woman's safety in public, no matter whereabouts in this country, still cannot yet be taken for granted. Far from it.

It brings to my mind an incident in 1991 shortly after I'd started to live in Hounslow, West London, which for me turned into a 2-year stint there. I wasn't as yet familiar with the area, and on one occasion in full daylight, I found myself lost on a moderately busy road. Looking around for someone nearby to put me right, I saw that there was a lone, young, black lady, probably in her early 20s, following a few yards behind me. I began "Excuse me, can you help m......." Her reaction was alarming and unexpected. She'd stopped and she was staring at me - then started shrieking "Aieeeeeeeee......." at the top of her voice and began to run away back in the direction she'd just come from, looking behind her nervously - presumably checking if I was coming after her. Of course I was just standing there in shock. At least she hadn't been calling out "Help!" She stopped maybe fifty yards away and turned, watching me. Meanwhile, having just got over my initial surprise there was an oldish couple coming towards me, with whom I was able to enquire as to my whereabouts. They must have seen what had happened but were quite relaxed about my asking them for help, which they quite pleasantly gave me. While I'd been talking to them, the young woman had walked forward and passed us, giving me a wide berth, but she must have heard my genuine enquiry and may well (I'm guessing) have felt rather abashed at her behaviour. When I was alone again I can't recall now if I'd been directed to the same direction she was now going in but I'm sure that if I had been I'd have given her plenty of time to get well ahead of me. 

I don't blame her in the slightest for anything at all, my being more perplexed than offended. After my initial surprise I must have assumed that she'd mistaken me for someone else with whom she'd had a bad experience - an assault, or even more than that, only worse. Or perhaps it was more general. Maybe she'd been subject to some traumatic event which made her suspect any and every man who approached her, so badly that it had affected the rest of her life. Whatever the cause of her behaviour it's profoundly and sadly disturbing - especially so if she'd understandably been reliving her part as a victim of some horrific act. 

There must be an untold number of women around like this, women who are daily living out their deeply unpleasant experiences, or just the threat of such happenings, but in such a way as to affect their regular conduct with the world, including the thought that potentially every man has evil designs on her. Sometimes, indeed, their fears may be quite justified, as proven too late to the unfortunate recently murdered woman. 

What a truly sad state we're in - all of us! 


19 comments:

  1. It is enlightening when we're made aware of the difference in our experiences of the world around us. What a way to have to live. And most women have lived like that all their lives. We don't appreciate our different levels of privilege and most people are still in denial that it even exists.

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    1. It's salutary for us men occasionally to be given a strong reminder of just how some women have to live, and that seeing every man as a potential threat is perfectly comprehensible even when we feel it's grossly unfair. How could the woman possibly know? Even if this reminder we are given is not quite as dramatic as the one I had it did provide a perfect illustration of something that must never be forgotten. Manners at all times - exactly as I was attempting, though to no avail on this occasion - and try assuming that the woman you are talking to sees you as a stranger and that you, as a man, are indeed the potential threat she fears.

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  2. Your tale is touching and helps illustrate not only how far we have to go, but also the extent of the damage done. The mistreatment of those deemed 'less than' was some sort of assumed right for men... particularly white males and the world put up with it for far too long. Now, we're calling them on it, so they now want to play the victim and claim persecution. The orange ogre is a perfect example of this. It is one of the reasons for the backlash against the #MeToo movement and the brazen unveiling of the somewhat concealed racism prevalent in the US. Thanks for sharing your tale. Take care.

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    1. Any man who denies that a male attitude of condescension towards women does not exist is just either stupid or VERY stupid. I reckon they just want to think that it somehow demeans MEN. Twaddle! Men created the situation and thus must live with the consequences, even though the situation may have been brought about by a minority of us.
      I guess it's the same the world over, each country having its own loud-mouthed deniers. But few have been as influential as the orange one of course - and it's frankly amazing how, despite all he's said and stands for, so many women STILL support him. If only a lot more of them could see the light he'd be consigned to the ugliest part of your history in a trice.
      Take care of yourself too, U.

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  3. I guess these days no one can be too safe. I have one friend here who never locks their doors and they live way out in the country. And after seeing too many episodes of Midsommer Murders, I know how easily these things can happen.

    Hope you been doing well Raybeard.I think spring is springing here finally after all those snowfalls.

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    1. Yes, I now what you mean. Our family also, back in the 1950s, would never lock our doors, front and back, and nothing untoward ever happened - a world ling since vanished.

      I'm not doing too bad at all, thanks M.M. Things could be very much worse, but thank goodness they're not.
      .....und ja, wilkommen der Fruhling!

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  4. All we want is to feel safe in our homes, on our streets, in our town, and it's a sad state of affairs when we can't have that.
    Sad that she you you as a threat because of your gender or skin color.
    Sad that anyone sees anyone as a threat because of their gender and skin color.

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    1. The incident cut deep into my soul, Bob, and I'm grateful that it did. If only every man could have something like that happen to them, together with an eye-opening realisation, then I think it would be a much improved world.

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  5. certain white males believe that women are made for their pleasure. OH HELL NO!

    toxic masculinity against women, PoC, LGBTQIA+ individuals MUST CEASE! of course, orange dumphead encouraged this behavior amongst the MAGAts.

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    1. Right on, W.Q. Such men spoil it for EVERYBODY no matter what their sex. As for you-know-who - can't he just GO AWAY - or have a heart attack, though not dying of course. But there again, maybe.............

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  6. It is a sad story. It is also way too common.

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    1. It most definitely is, Debby, but how to change it? Even if by some means the number of men who are carrying out such acts is reduced to a tiny proportion of what it currently is, those few that do still exist will yet be enough to continue the fear that many/most women still feel. I can't think of a ready solution other than somehow changing the mindset of ALL men - though how?

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  7. It breaks my heart that anyone should have to live in such constant fear...and sickens me that anyone daring to call themselves human would ever think they can treat others poorly or violently because of their sex or skin color. I am always aware when I’m walking behind a woman that she may perceive me as a threat and do my best to give rude birth and space to try to diminish that feeling in any way.

    Sassybear
    Www.Idleeyesandadormy.Com

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    1. The idea of assuming that a woman MAY see us men as a threat and so to act accordingly is a good and selfless one, S/b. It's something I also try to adopt but all too readily forget to put into practice.
      I did when once in Cambridge see a young student struggling painfully, attempting to carry a large, bulging rucksack on her back and a bag in each hand, and felt it was only the gentlemanly thing to do to offer her my help. [Well, no one else was]. I had the time and she was going approximately in my direction. When she graciously turned my offer down I immediately knew that she'd be afraid that I might run of with whatever bag of hers I was carrying, so though disappointed a bit, I wasn't actually hurt by her declining as I could perfectly understand where her attitude was coming from. Such is the world we're now living in, probably the very same world that hasn't ever changed.

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  8. It is a constant fear in our heads, Ray. Every single time we go anywhere alone. We prepare ourselves, know about parking beforehand, what type of neighborhood we're going to, we carry our keys in our hands, ready to set off the car alarm, etc., etc. It is such a ridiculously sad way to have to move about in the world. I have such sympathy for Ms. Everhard's family. The only grace is that the police have the bastard in custody. (And his wife? Not sure how she ties in but hopefully good riddance to both of them soon.)

    Just got my first shot today (Pfizer). Hopefully, some normal times ahead. You and gang of kits stay safe!

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    1. Although I was always nervous when out alone in London, Elle, and in Brighton too, especially at night, my precautions were nothing like what you describe as what you and other women go through every time you step outside. Although I was generally aware of women's particular fears - and for me it was mostly a fear of being mugged for money rather than anything to do with my body - this latest incident involving the horrible experience of the unfortunate victim, has brought into focus like as never before what all women have to go through - and constantly. If any glimmer of hope can be extracted from this grisly tale may it be that a lot more of men's eyes will be opened as to the reality of this shameful state of affairs.

      I don't want to think too much of what may transpire with the suspect, nor of his wife, as I fear that his solicitor will plea for leniency because of his 'fragile' mental state brought about by some prior event in his life. This seems to be the 'go to' method of defence these days, and the impression one gets, though it may not be so in actual fact, is that it often works.
      But whatever transpires, let's ALL hope that it opens up many more men's eyes to what a hideous world we exist in where half the population, perhaps even more, cannot go about their lives without being paralysed by a very real and justified fear.

      My second jab should be due in about six weeks. After the unpleasant nauseous reaction I had after the first [Astra-Zeneca, unfortunately much in the right news now] though it only lasted for one day afterwards, it's not something I'm particularly looking forward to, though there's no way I'm going to chicken out. Hope you've had no unfortunate after-effects with your first, and can continue on with what you regard as 'normal' life.

      I and the pussies, all five of us in total, are doing well and will carry on living cautiously and safely, thanks.
      Take care yourself,
      R.

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    2. Got my second shot and felt fine (thank heavens). Such a relief! Hope you got yours and did better w/the second one. Fingers crossed we can start having a normal (somewhat) life in the near future. Take care!

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    3. Getting my 2nd on this Sat., Elle. Pleased to read that you got yours with no unpleasant after-effects, the aftermath [or non-appearance of] which I'm obviously hoping for too. As at now I'm a trifle apprehensive, but we'll see how it goes. It's clearly got to be done.

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