Blondy’s People… Gemma Aitchison
Episode 17 of Blondy’s people and we are coming into our final few.
So, before we go on….
Big fat trigger warning. This post and video talks about sexual abuse, violence, rape and murder. This episode of Blondy’s people could upset people. But may well be the most informative video you have watched in a very long time.
I recently put out a post that said:
“Ask any women how old they were the very first time they felt objectified/sexualised by a man, or had something inappropriate said to them, or had something “Not quite right” happen to them”
People answered. Some simply said “I was a child”. Others went into detail, in terms of ages….. Most were between 8-11. 8-11 years of age the FIRST time they felt objectified/sexualised by men. It didn’t shock me when I saw peoples replies, both public and private. Bit it hurt me. That part of my heart it always hurts.
I wish I could go back and speak to Blondy at times. I can only go on my memories now, but I wonder what Blondy’s answer would have been to the above question before years have passed and my memory has suppressed many things. But I will try to answer the above question….
I was about 4 the first time I can recall I had something “Not quote right” happen to me. I could talk about it. I could go into detail. But I won’t. It still causes me trauma in many ways but I am sure that as I work through it I will be able to talk about those times without a shortness in my breath and my head start to hurt….
I say that “Blondy” was created when I was about 9 and I stayed in that mind set until I was in my late teens. I can honestly say that for most of that time she felt objectified/ sexualised by a man. The list of things that happened to her that were “not quite right” is endless.
Blondy, named so because of her long Blonde hair, was so used to being sexualised that was something she could at times desensitise herself from, from a young age. She was often in situations where she could not speak out about what was happening to her for many reasons but the main reason. Number one on her list, is that she did not want her mum to find out. Its mad. Blondy spent years trying to protect her mum because she felt that mum could not cope with certain things, but the truth is, her mum would have done her upmost to protect her. I don’t know when Blondy worked out that telling mum would cause mum problems. I think kids are clever like that.
The early sexualisation came from older men in the community, family friends, people known to the home. Later, it become peers, other young people in positions of power, after that it become a mash of all different men.
Blondy either dressed like a boy or in the skimpiest outfits possible. There was no in between. And the state of dress would largely depend on what was going on in her life. Blondy would think nothing of sleeping out on the common, in parks and even in abandoned house/ buildings. Her mum was strict when she was well. She would demand that Blondy was home at certain times and such. But when mum was not well…. then Blondy would be free to roam the streets and as she got a little older, Blondy would tell her mum she was staying with a friend and then eventually she no longer had to explain herself.
Once, when Blondy was 13, she was standing in the local high street. I can’t remember exactly what she was wearing but it was along the lines of very short shorts, probably a shirt tied up under her bust, knee high boots. At 13. Sometimes it would be very high wedge shoes and summer dresses. It was almost always inappropriate for her age when she was in this mood. The giveaway for Blondy was…. she looked every inch her age. No make up made her look older. In fact, the more that was applied the younger she looked. So, there she was, probably fag in one hand a bottle of Thunderbirds in the other, standing around. A car pulled up. White car blacked out windows. Music pumping. It almost skidded at the side of the rode where Blondy and what ever girls she was with were standing. The car screeches to the side of the road and the window goes down a very handsome man says hi. The girls all giggle and whisper to each other. The man (Who is in the passenger seat) gets out. He is about 25/30. Jeans and white t shirt. New trainers. Lots of gold. He starts talking to the girls. Asks them what they like to do and stuff.
Now here is the thing…. when Blondy was dressed in this certain way, it was usually after something sexualised had taken place or she had flashbacks of something similar. She would then discard her tracksuit bottoms or Gravity jeans (who remembers those!!!) and would search out a certain type of clothes and would spend days/ weeks dressing in which was a very sexualised manner. She had no idea why she went from one extreme to the other. It was almost like she was punishing herself. Many many times Blondy would look in the mirror and say “Slut” at the reflection. When she was like this she would stay away from the people she usually hung with. She would just go off, dressing and acting wild. Acting out.
Anyway…As this man was talking to the girls, Blondy noticed that the driver looked very uncomfortable. Tapping the wheel and shouted out “Mike…come on for fucks sake”. But Mike just waved his hand without turning round and continued to chat to the children. Yes…children. Because that is what we were. Blondy felt very uncomfortable with what was being said. All very sexualised talk and such and went and lent against the wall. Suddenly her 3 friends were all getting into the back of the car. Blondy stepped forward. Called one of the girl’s names. But the girls were all giggling and such. The man came over to Blondy and stood in front of her. Arms crossed. Big smile on his face.
“Sooooo……why you not getting in” he asked he in a smooth voice. She shrugged and said “Don’t want to “…. He dropped his arms and said “Come and party. Nothing bad will happen.”. One of her friends lent out the car and shouted for Blondy to come. They could leave when ever init. So Blondy got in the car. Like that. She got in.
The music was blazing, spliffs being passed around and lots of giggling. The car pulls up outside an off-licence and the man turns and starts taking orders from the girls about what drink they want…. Vodka and Cider are what the girls ask for and off he goes. One of the girls whispers to the others “Free drink init” and they all laugh. Except Blondy. She has gone very quiet. She is watching the driver. Who has not turned around or even looked at them. But she sees him keep looking at her in the wing mirror. It makes her feel uncomfortable. The man is back with bags of drink.
They drove to a flat on a local estate. Blondy knows where she is and could easy just get out and walk home. But she doesn’t. She follows them up to the flat. Why? Who knows. Curious maybe. Wants to see if there is money to be made. Like I said, I wish I could ask her, but I cannot. In a lift, 7 floors up.
The man opens the flat door and they all go in. The girls all bundle together on the sofa and are still giggling away. The man puts on music very loud and starts putting the drinks out on the coffee table in front of them. The flat is nasty. Filthy. It looks like an old person lived there but then teenagers moved in. It has got all old-fashioned furniture that was once looked after but now covered in hot rock burns and ash. The driver, Blondy notes, has moved to a chair furthest away from them and is rolling a spliff not looking at anyone. The other man is opening drinks and telling the girls to drink up. He is being “cheeky and funny” and the girls are giggling. But not Blondy. She is silent. She has been drinking all day and until the men turned up, she was feeling giddy and giggly. But now she feels serious. The door bangs and she jump. The man goes out to the door and returns with about 5 men. They come in being very loud, rubbing their hands and laughing. They are all over 20. One of them walks in, looks over at the girls on the sofa and wolf whistles. Everyone laughs. Except Blondy and the driver. The driver keeps looking over at the girls, a quick glance and the back down at what he is doing. He shakes his head at one point. Blondy suddenly feels very awkward. Very exposed. Naked. She unties her shirt, so it covers her belly and sort of leans forward covering the bareness of her legs. One of the girls, Lorraine, Turns and looks at her. “Oh, here we go” she says and rolls her eyes.
Lorraine has known Blondy a long time. They have been exposed to some of the most heinous acts together. And she knows what is happening. Lorrain once tried to explain it too Blondy. She said “It’s like something comes over you. You suddenly want to party with us and not be with the others., You want to wear the clothes and stuff. Your whole personality changes. And your fun. You don’t care. It come from nowhere. And then…days later, sometimes weeks…. it’s like you snap back to the old you. And its scary. We can just be walking along and your whole face changes and suddenly you’re not fun anymore and your back to you”. Blondy was scared when her friend told her that. Because truth be known…Blondy sometimes could not remember the days when she would “Party”. It was al hazy and not real. She once told a social worker who said, “That’s the effects of drugs for you”. But Blondy had never taken drugs. But Blondy also knew that they never believed her when she said that….
Back at the party Blondy is not OK. Some of the girls are now up dancing whilst the men are sitting around. The girls are laughing and giggling and dancing in a provocative manner. One of the girls is 12. Blondy is still holding the bottle she was handed and has not taken a sip. She needs to leave. She doesn’t want to draw attention to herself, but she needs to go. Lorrain is smoking a spliff next to her and one of the men has joined them on the sofa. He is talking to Lorraine and is rubbing her leg. He says something that Blondy doesn’t hear and nods his head at Blondy, obviously saying something about her. Lorrain shakes her head and says “Na, she won’t do it”. The man, aged about 25, shaved head, massive arms, looks and Blondy and winks. That is, it. Blondy is back in the room. She stands up and puts her bottle on the table. No one really notices her, all preoccupied with the other girls. Except the driver who is now staring straight at her. She looks around the room and walks quickly to the front door. She opens it and feels the air hit her face. What the fuck was I doing, she thinks to herself and walks quickly down the balcony towards the lift, cursing the stupid high heel boots making a stupid clicking sound. She starts walking faster, so glad to be “Back”. She pushes the lift button and hugs herself. She is so cold. The lift opens and she goes to step in and suddenly she is shoved into the lift from behind. She slams against the inside of the lift and stumbles to the floor of the lift, that stinks of piss and god knows what. She feels her hair being grabbed and can see a man’s legs. He has his hand over her mouth from behind.
Shit shit shit.
Pure fear runs through her body. He is saying something. She has no idea what because all she can hear is the pumping of her heart in her ears. He is grabbing her bum through her shorts and she hears him this time. Words she will remember a thousand lifetimes…
“Look at you…. Dressed like a tart…you want it…slut”.
She starts fighting against the man. Fighting….lol….. She is 13 and weighs about 6 stone. He is a large 20 something man. There is no fight. She just squirms around, making it as hard as she can. He is all over her, grabbing and biting….is that what she can feel?. Its all bad. She screams a loud scream and he grabs her face again. She turns herself sort of round and she can see him. It is the driver. His eyes are blazing. And he sort of smiles at her. Says something about how she has been looking at him all night. Blondy’s eyes are streaming with tears. No sound because of his hand over her mouth. And suddenly he has pushed her onto the lift floor and his whole weight is on her and she cannot breathe, The lift is small, and he is big, and he is so heavy. The lift is still moving but so slowly.
And this is it. Blondy knows this is it.
Suddenly there is a “Ding” and the lift door opens and there is lots of noise and banging and Blondy is thrown around the lift even more. Lots of voices. Loads. The weight of the man is suddenly gone, and she curls up in a ball to protect her head as there is defo a fight going on. Suddenly she is being pulled up. A women’s voice is saying “Cha…. Get up girl”. Blondy opens her eyes, Arms still wrapped around her head, and a lady is standing over her. “Get up girl” the lady says again. Blondy takes the lady’s outstretched hand and is pulled up. She is shaking like the mad and the women is now sort of hugging her and guiding her away from the lift. The driver is in the middle of a fight with about 4-6 men. They are jumping all over him, stamping and kicking him, shouting things like “Pussy” and “nonce”. The women tuts and takes Blondy to her flat which is about 5 doors along. She takes Blondy in and closes the door and bends down and looks in her eyes “You OK”? The women asks. Blondy Nods. “Where you live” she asks in a strong Jamaican accent. Blondy says her road. The women tuts again, grabs some keys and walks to the front door again “Come” she says to Blondy. And Blondy Follows. Outside is now quiet. The men are gone. The driver is gone. In the distance is police sirens. The women walk’s over to an old Ford car and gets in. Blondy just stands there. The women wind’s down the window and says “Come”. Blondy gets in the car and the women drives to Blondy’s flat, not saying a word the whole way. When they pull up Blondy just there, The women look’s at her. “Get out then” she says, like this was just a casual lift round the corner. Blondy grabs the handle and opens the door and then stops. “Thank you” she says not looking at the lady. “How old are you” the lady asks. Blondy replies 13. The woman kisses her teeth and says to go home. And Blondy does.
I have no idea who that women was. I tired to go back a few months later to see if I could find her but in the daylight I couldn’t tell what door what was. I never saw any of the people (apart from the girls I was with) again.
That women saved me that night. I don’t know why. But if by any chance she is ever reading this….and any of the story above rings a bell….and you drove home a little girl in big girl clothes that night I just want you to know that I am thankful for your actions (And the people that were with you) that night. You didn’t have to help me, but you did.
Today’s guest for Blondy’s people isGemma Aitchison. Gemma is a Survivor, a campaigner, a feminist and an all-round bad ass.
I wanted to include fellow survivors for Blonds people so that its not just a loan voice saying these things happen. The story above is not unique. It’s not in the past. It is happening to girls and women right now as we speak. And Gemma knows this too well. Not only has she been objectified and sexualised most of her life, she also knows about the girls who don’t get away. The ones who no one saves.
Gemma is not just a fellow survivor. She has had to live with the knowledge that her sister was raped and murdered for no other reason than she was a teenage girl.
Gemma has achieved many things in her life and made changes that most of us only read about. She is a force to be reckoned with and if you watch our interview you will join us on a roller coaster of emotions. You may also wonder, like me, why Gemma has not got her show because the wit is dry and crisp. Just how I like it. Listen out for her favourite brand of moisturiser….
Gemma is one of Blondy’s people because she is out here fighting not just for her rights, but for all girls and women. The right to not be objectified. She asks the questions others don’t dare. She offends people. She shames people into doing their job. She is amazing. She is the big sister we all need in our lives.
She is one of Blondy’s people because she knows what it’s like to hate yourself. To think you deserve no better. To wonder why it keeps happening.
But yet…has waked from the fire stronger and louder…..
We can’t consent to this https://wecantconsenttothis.uk/